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Full text of "Religio medici and other essays. Edited, with an introd. by D. Lloyd Roberts"

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RELIGIO MEDICI 




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RELIGIO MEDICI 

AND OTHER ESSAYS 

r 

By sir THOMAS BROWNE 

EDITED 
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 

D. LLOYD ROBERTS 

M.D., l-.lf^.P. 



Revised Edition 



511775 



LONDON 
SMITH, ELDER AND CO. 
15 WATERLOO PLACE 

1898 



All 




Edinburgh : T. and A. Constable, Printers to Her Majesty 



THE EDITOR 

CORDIALLY AND RESPECTFULLY 

DEDICATES THIS EDITION OF THE ' RELIGIO MEDICI ' 

AND OTHER ESSAYS OF 

SIR THOMAS BROWNE 

TO HIS FRIEND 
THE REVEREND THE MOST HONOURABLE 

THE MARQUESS OF NORMANBY 

CANON OF ST. GEORGe's CHAPEL 
WINDSOR 



The text of this edition of Sir Thomas Browne's 
bcst-knovm essays has been carefully revised. A 
short posthumous tract ' On Dreams ' has been 
added y published originally by Wilkin from the 
Sloane MSS. in the British Museum. I have to 
thank my friend Mr. C. W. Sutton for his assist- 
ance in reading the proof-sheets. 

MANcnESTER, Novcmhcr 1897. 



CONTENTS 





PAGE 


Biographical Introduction 


ix 


Religio Medici .... 


1 


Christian Morals 


. 121 


Letter to a Friend . 


. 199 


On Dreams 


. 231 


Urn Burial .... 


. 241 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

Sir Thomas Browne^ in his best-known work, 
the Religio Medici, speaks of his earlier life as 
* a miracle of thirty years, which to relate 
were not a history but a piece of poetry/ yet 
its actual incidents justify no such description. 

This apparent hyperbolism must, therefore, 
be understood to refer rather to its subjective 
than its objective development. The follow- 
ing sketch will show that his life, from 
beginning to end, when the troublous times 
that were contemporaneous with it are borne 
in mind, was almost remarkable for its absolute 
uneventfulness. In fact, so strangely oblivious 
does he appear to have been to the stupendous 
dramas enacted all around him, that scarcely 
any evidences 6f their effect upon his quiet 
and studious life can be found in his writings ; 
he seems to have been almost as undisturbed 
by ' the drums and tramplings ' of the terrible 
struggle that rent the kingdom in twain, as 
the peaceful dead who claimed so large a 
share of his attention. 

He was born in the city of London on 
October 19, l605 — the year of the Gunpowder 



X BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

Plot — in the parish of St. Michael, Cheapside. 
His father, who was of gentle birth, was a 
presumably successful business man, either 
merchant or mercer, tracing his descent from 
' an ancient and genteel family ' belonging to 
Upton in Cheshire, and it is on record that he 
was related to a Countess of Devonshire, whom 
he greatly resembled. He was in the habit 
of uncovering the breast of his infant son, 
when he was sleeping, kissing it, and praying 
over him, in imitation of Origen's father, ' that 
the Holy Ghost would take possession there.' 

Sir Thomas's mother was the daughter of 
a Paul Garraway of Lewes, Sussex, but of her 
very little is known. She lost her husband 
while her son was in his nonage, and she 
married again; her second husband, Sir 
Thomas Button, being ' a very worthy 
gentleman who enjoyed an honourable post 
in the government of Ireland.' 

There is reason to doubt whether the 
fortune of about £9000 — of which a third 
was left to the mother — was fairly appor- 
tioned between Thomas and his brother and 
two sisters, for it is stated that he was 
defrauded by the rapacity of his guardians. 
Be this as it may, his education was not 
neglected. He obtained a scholarship at 
Winchester in I616 — the year of Shake- 
speare's death ; and in the beginning of 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xi 

1623, when in his eighteenth year, he was 
entered as a fellow-commoner at Broadgate 
Hall, Oxford, soon after endowed as a 
college, and taking its name from the 
Earl of Pembroke, then chancellor of the 
university. 

Here he earned the warm and lasting 
esteem of his tutor. Dr. Thomas Lushington. 
There is little doubt that his university 
career was distinguished not only by his rare 
intellectual qualifications, but by the display 
of a singularly attractive disposition; for we 
find in after-years that his college friends had 
much to do in shaping his career. He was 
admitted to his Bachelors degree January 
31, 1626-7, and proceeded Master of Arts in 
his twenty-third year. 

From this time the study of medicine 
appears to have claimed his special attention, 
and he soon began to practise in the 
neighbourhood of Oxford. He quickly, 
however, gave up his work, in order that 
he might avail himself of the opportunity 
of accompanying his stepfather. Sir Thomas 
Dutton, in an official tour through Ireland, 
undertaken for the purpose of inspecting and 
reporting upon the condition of its forts and 
castles, the country then being in one of its 
periodically disturbed states. 

From Ireland he continued his travels to 



xii BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

France, where he visited the principal places 
of interest. Very few autobiographical details 
are available regarding this period, but we 
find him in after-years, in a letter to his son, 
speaking of his experiences of Rochelle, as 
' a place of too much good fellowship and a 
very drinking town, more than other parts of 
France.' 

He made a considerable stay at Mont- 
pellier, then a famous school of medicine, 
whence he proceeded to Padua, the most 
renowned of the Italian universities. Here 
existed the most celebrated school of medicine 
in the world; and here Harvey and nearly 
all the seventeenth-century doctors of any 
fame passed their curriculum under the 
greatest teachers of the age. 

Doubtless during this period the young 
student acquired his ready knowledge of 
French and Italian, and obtained an exten- 
sive acquaintance with the literature of both 
countries, drinking deeply from the rich 
storehouses of Dante and Montaigne ; for 
the influence of the daring sublimity of the 
one and the almost self-effacing philosophic 
toleration of the other is most strongly 
marked in Sir Thomas Browne's subsequent 
writings. 

Perhaps the following is one of the most 
striking of the many interesting parallelisms 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xiii 

that could be pointed out, showing how 
nearly he approached Montaigne in at least 
one side of his character. Montaigne wrote : 
' I look upon all men as my countrymen, 
and embrace a Polander as heartily as a 
Frenchman, preferring the universal and 
common tie to this national tie.' (Book in. 
chap, viii.) 

In the Religio Medici, Part n. sect, i., 
Browne writes : ' I feel not in myself those 
common antipathies that I can discover in 
others : those natural repugnances do not 
touch me, nor do I behold with prejudice 
the French, Italian, Spanish, or Dutch ; but 
where I find their actions in balance with 
my countrymen, I honour, love, and embrace 
them in the same degree.' Many similar 
lines of convergence can be found by careful 
comparison of these two authors, who, while 
in some respects so dissimilar, yet strangely 
approximate in thoughts that are common to 
both. 

Browne's foreign travel was concluded 
about 1633, when he was in his twenty- 
eighth year, he having finished his medical 
studies at Leyden, where he took the degree 
of Doctor of Medicine. It must be re- 
membered that at this time foreign medical 
degrees were regarded with much greater 
esteem than at present, and the fact, already 



xiv BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

alluded to, of the eminent positions held 
by the schools of Montpellier and Padua suffi- 
ciently explains why English doctors sought 
their diplomas abroad rather than at home. 

Within a few years of his return Browne 
was incorporated Doctor of Medicine at 
Oxford (l637), showing that a foreign degree 
was considered a sufficient reason for the 
bestowal of an English degree honoris causa. 

After his return to England, Dr. Browne 
appears to have established himself in 
practice at Shipden Hall, near Halifax ; and 
at this place, in the enforced leisure that 
generally falls to the lot of the young 
doctor, he doubtless wrote his first and most 
famous work, the Rcligio Medici. Internal 
evidences, derived from the references he 
makes to his age in the Religio Medici, 
almost certainly fix the actual year in 
which this unique 'piece of serene wisdom* 
was written as l635, when he was in his 
thirtieth year. He wrote : ' As yet I have 
not seen one revolution of Saturn, nor hath 
my pulse beat thirty years ' ; and again, in 
his preface to the edition of 1643: 'This, 
I confess, about seven years past, with some 
others of affinity thereto, for my private 
exercise and satisfaction, I had at leisure 
hours composed.' 

This treatise, written so soon after 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xv 

Browne's return from his student life in 
France and Italy, retains the varied im- 
pressions made upon his mind by the 
opposite schools of thought he had passed 
through, and is an elaborate apology for 
his belief. No further proof of its breadth 
and liberality is needed than the fact that 
its author was claimed both by Romanists 
and Quakers as a member of their far 
differing creeds ! 

It may be presumed that the Shipden Hall 
practice was not very lucrative or promis- 
ing, for in 1637 he removed to Norwich, at 
the earnest solicitation of his former college 
tutor, who had then become rector of the 
neighbouring parish of Burnham Westgate. 
To the persuasions of Dr. Lushington were 
joined those of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Gilling- 
ham, Justinian Lewyn,^ who had just taken 
his degree as Doctor of Law at Pembroke 
College (June 30, 1637), and Sir Charles Le 
Gros of Crostwick,^ all Norfolk worthies, who 
desired to bring so promising and learned a man 
within the circle of their immediate influence. 

1 Judge-Marshall of the Army under Thomas, Earl of 
Arundel, in the Scotch expedition of 1639, and after that 
one of the Masters in Ordinary in the High Court of 
Chancery, a knight and commissionary and oflScial of 
Norfolk.— Wood's Fasti. 

2 The father of Thomas le Gros, to whom Hydriotaphia 
was dedicated, 



xvi BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

Within a very short time of his coming to 
Norwich — where he spent the remainder of 
his life — his fame as a physician was quickly 
established, and Whitefoot, his contemporary 
biographer, says, ^ He was much resorted to 
for his admirable skill in physick.' 

In 1641 he strengthened his Norfolk con- 
nections by marrying Dorothy, the fourth 
daughter of Edward Mileham of Burlingham 
St. Peter, 'a lady,' says Whitefoot, 'of such 
symmetrical proportion to her worthy hus- 
band, both in the graces of her body and 
mind, that they seemed to come together by 
a kind of natural magnetism/ 

This marriage afforded contemporary wits a 
seasonable opportunity of railing at him, for 
having so soon done violence to the slighting 
allusions to matrimony he had made in a well- 
known passage in the Religio Medici.^ An 
amusing instance of this raillery occurs in 
Howell's delightful Epistolce Ho-Eliance.^ It is 
interesting to note with reference to these 
curious passages, that Montaigne had before 
expressed himself very much in the same 
direction.^ 

In spite of Browne's anti-matrimonial 
theories, he lived most happily with the lady 

1 Religio Medici, Part ii. sect. ix. 

- Howell's Familiar Letters, sect. vi. letter ix, 

3 Essais de Montaigne, 1. iii. chap. v. 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xvii 

of his choice, and during the forty-one years 
of wedlock she bore him twelve children. 
Among these should be especially mentioned 
his eldest son Edward, who followed his 
father's profession with very considerable 
success, acquiring, as years passed by, no 
little fame. He was appointed physician to 
Charles n., and afterwards to Bartholomew's 
Hospital; in 1705 he became President of 
the Royal College of Physicians, and was so 
variously accomplished, that his royal master 
said of him, ^ he was as learned as any of his 
college^ and as well-bred as any of the Court.' 
Sir Thomas Browne believed that habits of 
independence could be best developed in his 
children by sending them early abroad, and 
his son Thomas was sent off alone to France 
at the perilously early age of fourteen. Some 
of his daughters also certainly visited France, 
as may be seen from passages in his domestic 
correspondence. The following passages 
from the letters written by Browne to his 
son Thomas are characteristic and of great 
interest. He is exhorted ^to cast off pudor 
rusticus,^ to put on ' a commendable boldness,' 
and to ' have a good handsome garb of body ' , 
especially to 'hold firm to the Protestant 
religion, and be diligent in going to church,' 
and above all to 'be constant, not negligent 
in your daily private prayers, and habituate 
b 



xviii BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

your heart in your tender days unto the fear 
and reverence of God.' This youth appears 
to have been a lad of rare spirit, but he 
unfortunately died suddenly at the beginning 
of a most promising career in the navy. 
Of the daughters, one, Anne, married a 
grandson of Lord Fairfax, and another, Eliza- 
beth, became the wife of Captain George 
Lyttelton. It is to Mrs. Lyttelton that the 
world owes a few scattered recollections of her 
father, which are all the more valuable because 
the materials for his biography are so scanty. 

The domestic correspondence of this family 
— of which a considerable portion is included 
in Simon Wilkin's splendid edition ^ of Sir 
Thomas Browne's works — give glimpses of a 
home life of singukr happiness; the letters 
addressed to the children by their father 
breathe a spirit of deep paternal love, inter- 
mingled with a wide knowledge of the world, 
and a rare wisdom delightfully free from all 
narrow prejudices. In this estimable family, 
kindly hospitality and consideration for the 
opinions of others were deeply fostered, and, 
moreover, tkey cultivated an intelligent in- 
terest in the wonders of nature, an interest 
which at that period must certainly have 
appeared remarkable. 

1 Coleridge, in referring to this edition, said it was one 
of the best-edited books in the English language. 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xix 

Evelyn, in describing Sir Thomas Browne's 
house, speaks of it as * a paradise and cabinet 
of rarities, and that of the best collections, 
especially medals, books, plants, and natural 
things.' He adds, ' Sir Thomas had a col- 
lection of the eggs of all the foule and birds 
he could procure.' 

In l642, the year of the outbreak of the 
Civil War, and that following his marriage, 
the Religio Medici — which had been circulating 
in manuscript for some time, and of which 
several copies appear to have been made — 
found its way to the press, and was published 
without any clue to its author's name. 

Browne complained bitterly of this 'sur- 
reptitious ' publication, and immediately took 
steps to prepare a ' full and intended copy of 
that piece, which was most imperfectly and 
surreptitiously published before.' 

Opinion differs as to the good faith of 
Browne's anger, and Dr. Johnson goes so 
far as to say : ' It is easy to convey an im- 
perfect book by a distant hand to the press, 
and plead the circulation of a false copy as an 
excuse for publishing the true, or to correct 
what is found faulty or offensive, and charge 
the errors on the transcriber's depravation.' 

This question is much too lengthy to enter 
upon here, for there is much to be said on 
both sides. Whether or not the author was 



XX BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

altogether innocent of the intention to issue 
Religio Medici in a tentative manner in an 
apparently unauthorised form, it is certain 
that the work immediately aroused a very 
widespread interest. Sir Kenelm Digby — at 
that time under arrest at Winchester House — 
having his attention directed to it by the 
Earl of Dorset, at once perused it, and within 
twenty-four hours wrote a review upon it 
which formed a book in itself. 

As soon as Dr. Browne heard of the exis- 
tence of these ^ observations ' (which were not 
altogether favourable to him), he wrote very 
courteously and apologetically to Sir Kenelm, 
begging him to withhold the publication of 
his review until he had seen the ^fuU and 
intended copy.' Sir Kenelm wrote an equally 
polite reply, expressing his regret at the 
hastiness of his remarks; nevertheless, his 
animadversions anticipated the appearance of 
the authorised edition. In fact, so much 
interest did the book attract, that, before the 
authorised edition could be prepared, another 
edition of the unauthorised imprint was issued. 
Of the two editions bearing the date of l642, 
it is still a vexed question which is the earlier. 

The discussion of this point must be left, for 
however interesting it may be to bibliophiles, 
it is certainly one upon which there can be no 
absolute decision. 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xxi 

The fame of the Religio Medici soon spread 
throughout Europe; John Merry weather, as 
a labour of love, quickly translated it into 
Latin, his translation being published both 
at Leyden and Paris. Eventually, Dutch, 
French, and German translations were made, 
and Browne himself refers to an Italian 
edition, but no copy is known to exist. The 
Holy See conferred upon the Religio Medici 
the distinction of consigning it to the cata- 
logue of the Index Expurgatoriits. 

It was at this stage of Sir Thomas Browne's 
life that he was constrained, by the outbreak 
of the Civil War, to take a decided political 
side. In 1643 we find him combining with 
over four hundred of the principal citizens of 
Norwich in refusing to contribute to the fund 
for regaining the town of Newcastle, thus mani- 
festing his sympathy with the Royalist party. 

Little other evidence is forthcoming to in- 
dicate that the troublous times very seriously 
interfered with the ordinary tenor of Dr. 
Browne's useful and philosophic life, for in 
the very heat of the struggle (1646) appeared 
his great work, Pseudodoxia Epidemical Of 

1 Pseudodoxia Epidemica ; or Enquiries into very many 
Received Tenets and Commonly Presumed Truths. By 
Thomas Browne, Doctor of Physick. Jul. Scalig. Ex 
libris colligere quce prodidcrunt authores, longe est peri- 
culosissimum ; rerum ipsarum, cognitio vera e rebus ipsis 
est. London. Printed by T. H. for Edward Dod, and 
are to be sold in Ivie Lane. 1646. 



xxii BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

this curious book, better known by the title 
of Vulgar Errors, it is only necessary to say 
that it fully established its author's reputa- 
tion as a writer of encyclopaedic knowledge. 
Possessed of vast . and recondite learning, 
though by no means free from the credulity 
of his time, treating alchemy, magic, j udicial 
astrology, and witchcraft as worthy of his 
serious belief, in this work he displays powers 
of investigation and faculties for scientific 
research far in advance of his contemporaries. 

Interesting allusions to Dr. Browne as a 
medical adviser of considerable repute are 
found in Loveday's Letters, a curious collec- 
tion of flowery epistles published in 1662. 
Loveday was clearly a hopeless consumptive, 
and many of his letters contain somewhat 
tedious descriptions of the progress of his 
malady. He writes of the ' great Dr. B. ' ; 
and again, ' If your affairs call you to Norwich, 
... I would gladly have the opinion of Dr. 
B., from whose advice I fancy most hope of 
all.' And in a later letter he writes, * I would 
gladly find Dr. B. not mistaken in the situa- 
tion of my malady. ... I have a strong fancy 
that I shall reap much benefit by those lotions 
he speaks of, and therefore when you go next 
to Norwich let me intreat you to take a note 
of the ingredients from his dictates.' 

It is, of course, open to dispute that 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xxiii 

Dr B. of Norwich may not be Dr. Browne of 
Norwich, but the use of the epithet '^ great ' 
removes, we think, all reasonable doubt on 
the subject. 

Although Dr. Browne's literary reputation 
was now established, he did not escape attack, 
his most persistent opponent being one Alex- 
ander Ross, who had attacked the Religio 
Medici in a work entitled Medicus MedicaUis, 
which achieved the reward, according to Dr- 
Johnson, of being ^universally neglected by 
the world.' The Pseudodoxia Epidemica called 
from the same source another attack, entitled 
Arcana Microcosmi. But these and similar 
attacks have long reached an oblivion that 
would be complete were it not for the fame 
of the works that stirred spiteful and puny 
pens into motion. 

By this time the fame of Dr. Browne was 
so well established that his advice was sought 
on all sides, not only on professional, but on 
literary, antiquarian, and scientific subjects ; 
and there is no doubt that his numerous cor- 
respondents and his extensive practice kept 
him very busily employed. And so the years 
passed, filled with stirring and eventful in- 
cidents, and yet without calling forth any 
comment from this extraordinary man; the 
struggles of his countrymen for liberty seeming 
dwarfed into insignificance compared with 



xxiv BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

his philosophic communings with the mighty 
dead. 

In 1656, Joseph Hall, then Bishop of 
Norwich, died. Dr. Browne, his faithful 
physician and loving friend for many years, 
attended the bishop in his last illness. At 
this time we find Browne corresponding with 
Evelyn and Dugdale, and very shortly after, 
in l658 — the year of Cromwell's death — 
Hydriotaphia, his most characteristic work, 
appeared. It is in this work that the sombre 
and majestic grandeur of his style finds its 
most marked expression. 

The Garden of Cyrus, published the same 
year, shows a minute knowledge of botany, 
conjoined with a strange mixture of mysticism. 
To find everything that is in the shape of a 
quincunx — the figure of five as formed by a 
domino — he ransacks all creation, and, taking 
his title from Cyrus's garden, where the trees 
were so arranged, he finds, as Coleridge said, 
'quincunxes in heaven above, quincunxes in 
earth below, and quincunxes in water beneath 
the earth; quincunxes in deity, quincunxes 
in the mind of man, quincunxes in bones, in 
the optic nerves, in roots of trees, in leaves, in 
petals, in everything.* In this fantastic work 
curious conceits and a fanciful vein of humour 
intermingle with passages of the greatest 
beauty and harmony. 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xxv 

In 1664 an incident occurred which his 
ardent admirers have found difficult to palHate 
— it is undoubtedly true that his evidence 
largely conduced to secure the conviction of 
two wretched women for the then capital 
offence of witchcraft. These victims of a 
cruel superstition were tried before Sir 
Matthew Hale at Bury St. Edmunds, and 
Browne declared that 'the fits were natural, 
but heightened by the devil's co-operating 
with the malice of the witches, at whose 
instance he did the villainies.' 

Credulity touching occult subjects was 
certainly the weakest side of Sir Thomas 
Browne's character. We find him corre- 
sponding seriously with William Lilly, the 
astrologer, and reckoning as worthy of 
credence Dr. Lee, the alchemist, who affirmed 
on oath that the goldsmiths of Prague had 
bought silver from him which had been trans- 
muted from pewter dishes and flagons. 

In 1671, in his sixty-sixth year, he was 
knighted by Charles 11., on the occasion of 
a royal visit to Norwich. 

In 1672 we find Sir Thomas Browne bearing 
testimony to the marvellous precociousness of 
the boy William Wotton, in the following 
terms : — 

'I do hereby declare and certify, that I 



xxvi BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

heard William Wotton, son to Mr. Henry 
Wotton, of Wrentham, of the age of six years, 
read a stanza in Spencer very distinctly, and 
pronounce it properly. As also some verses 
in the first Eclogue of Virgil, which I purposely 
chose out, and also construe the same truly. 
Also some verses in Homer, and the Carmina 
Aurea of Pythagoras, which he read well and 
construed. As he did also the first verse of 
the fourth chapter of Genesis in Hebrew, 
which I purposely chose out. 

' Tho. Browne. 

'July 20th, 1672.' 

In this year the marriage of Dr. Edward 
Browne occurred, and his residence in London, 
where he settled, led to so constant an inter- 
change of letters between father and son, 
that this paternal correspondence must have 
occupied much of Sir Thomas's time. 

The last decade of this distinguished 
physician's life affords scarcely any incident 
to record. Interesting details are, however, 
available to show how generously he associ- 
ated himself with the furtherance of educa- 
tional schemes. 

During this period he subscribed liberally 
towards the building of a new library for 
Trinity College, Cambridge, and he remem- 
bered his indebtedness to Winton by con- 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xxvii 

tributing towards the building of a new school. 
Oxford also shared his generosity, for he 
rendered substantial assistance in aid of the 
reparation of Christ College. 

While he continued his experimental in- 
vestigations to the close of his life, he pub- 
lished nothing after 1658. His last extant 
letter was written to his son Edward on June 
16, 1682, and before the close of the same 
year — on October 1.9 — on the very day of his 
birth. Sir Thomas succumbed to a short but 
fatal attack of colic, having just completed his 
seventy-seventh year. 

He was buried in the Church of St. Peter s, 
Mancroft, Norwich, where his widow erected 
a monument to his memory. 

Strange to say, the very fate that he had 
so strongly deprecated befell his remains, for, 
in 1840, the lid of his coffin was accidentally 
broken open by a blow from a workman's 
pickaxe, and, to quote his own words, his 
bones were ^knav'd out of his grave,' his 
skull being deposited on show in the museum 
of Norwich hospital. 

At the request of the widow, the Rev. John 
Whitefoot, rector of Heigham, who had a 
^particular acquaintance' with Sir Thomas 
Browne for two-thirds of his life, drew up 
' some minutes ' of the career of his greatly 
esteemed friend ; from this quaintly interest- 



xxviii BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

ing source of information we learn that ' for a 
character of his person, his complexion and 
hair was answerable to his name, his stature 
was moderate, and habit of body neither fat 
nor lean, but evaapKos. In his habit of 
clothing he had an aversion to all finery, and 
affected plainness, both in the fashion and 
ornaments. He ever wore a cloke or boots, 
when few others did. He kept himself 
always very warm, and thought it most safe 
so to do. 

' The horizon of his understanding was much 
larger than the hemisphere of the world. He 
could tell the number of the visible stars in his 
horizon, and call them all by their names that 
had any ; and of the earth he had such a 
minute and exact geographical knowledge, as 
if he had been by Divine Providence ordained 
surveyor-general of the whole terrestrial orb, 
and its products, minerals, plants and animals. 
. . . His memory . . . was capacious and 
tenacious ... he was excellent company 
when he was at leisure, and expressed more 
light than heat in the temper of his brain. 
He had power over his affections and passions 
. . . but he hath very rarely been known to 
have been overcome by any of them. . . . He 
was never seen to be transported with mirth 
or dejected with sadness, always cheerful, 
but rarely merry . . . seldom heard to break 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xxix 

a jest. . . . His modesty was visible in a 
natural habitual blush, increased upon the 
least occasion, and oft discovered without any 
observable cause. Free from loquacity, some- 
thing difficult to be engaged in any discourse, 
though when he was so, it was always singular 
and never trite or vulgar. Parsimonious in 
nothing but his time . . . when he had any 
to spare from his drudging practice, he was 
scarce patient of any diversion from his 
study; so impatient of sloth and idleness, 
that he would say he could not do nothing. 
He understood most of the European lan- 
guages. . . . Latin and Greek he understood 
critically, 

' He attended the public service very con- 
stantly, when not withheld by his practice ; 
he never missed the sacrament of his parish, if 
he were in town. ... I visited him much near 
his end, when he had not strength to hear or 
speak much ; the last words I heard from him 
were, besides some expressions of dearness, 
that he did freely submit to the will of God, 
being without fear. 

' He was liberal in his house entertainments 
and in his charity ; he left a comfortable, but 
no great estate, both to his lady and his 
children, gained by his own industry, having 
spent the greater part of his patrimony in his 
travels.' 



XXX BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

In 1686 a collective edition of Sir Thomas 
Browne's works was published^ said to have 
been edited by Dr. (afterwards Archbishop) 
Tenison, and in 1712 a volume appeared, 
entitled Posthumous Works of the learned Sir 
Thomas Browne, Knt., M.D., late of Norwich; 
but until 1835, when Simon Wilkin issued a 
masterly edition of the complete works, there 
was no scholarly and carefully edited text of 
this great author s works. To the laborious 
and painstaking patience of Mr. Wilkin every 
lover of Sir Thomas Browne is under very great 
obligation, as indeed is the present editor. 

In reprinting the Religio Medici, very con- 
siderable difficulty has been felt in deciding 
which of the editions, at least twelve in 
number published during its author's lifetime, 
can be taken as authoritative. 

The two first editions, those of l642, as 
already stated, were both, to use Sir Thomas 
Browne's own term, surreptitious. 

That of 1643, carefully prepared by the 
author for publication, can be taken as un- 
doubtedly authoritative. Every one of the 
subsequent editions published during the 
author's lifetime vary more or less, and, as 
has been justly pointed out, they contain 
variations that could scarcely have been 
inserted without the author's sanction ; yet all 
are undoubtedly more or less corrupt, and 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xxxi 

almost justify the opinion that, after the pubH- 
cation of the first revised edition — that of 
l64}3 — the author took Httle if any trouble to 
secure an absolutely correct text. We may 
perhaps assume that most of the altera- 
tions are due rather to printer than author, 
especially as the table of errata issued with 
the authentic edition of l643 was never acted 
upon in any of the subsequent editions until 
Mr. Wilkin made use of it. 

For these reasons, the text of 1643 has been 
followed in this reprint, and I am greatly 
indebted to Mr. Martin Hood Wilkin, the son 
of Mr. Simon Wilkin, for the opportunity of 
being able to consult this very rare edition of 
the Religio Medici. 

The valuable reprints edited by Mr. Wilkin 
and Dr. Greenhill have been consulted, with 
much advantage. The careful editions of John 
Peace and of the Rev. Henry Gardiner have 
also proved of great service. With very few 
exceptions, the notes are identical with those 
of the author himself, and the marginal 
analyses are reprinted from Gardiner, who 
appears to have taken them with but slight 
alteration from Peace's edition. While Sir 
Thomas Browne's spelling of rare and now 
obsolete words has been followed precisely, 
it has not been thought necessary to per- 
petuate the capricious and unstable spelling 



xxxii BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

of ordinary words^, differing as they do in 
every early edition. Nearly every existing 
edition, of which a list is given on page xxxvi., 
has been consulted in order to afford the 
reader the greatest possible help by the 
punctuation adopted ; that of the early editions 
is often obviously the result of typographical 
misunderstanding. 

Christian Morals — called by Dr. Edward 
Browne the continuation of the Religio Medici, 
and therefore given in immediate sequence to 
it — has been carefully reprinted from the first 
edition^ published in 171 6, and edited by 
Archdeacon Jeffrey. The marginal abstract 
is reprinted from Peace's edition. 

The Letter to a Friend, which appears to have 
been written in l672, shortly after Christian 
Morals, is reprinted from the first edition, 
edited by the son of the author, and published 
in 1690. Hydriotaphia or Urn Burial has been 
reprinted from the edition of l658 (the first), 
with the exception of a few typographical cor- 
rections, amended in the subsequent edition. 

The same rule has been applied to each of 
these works as that followed in the Religio 
Medici — the original orthography is always 
retained where the slightest interest can be 
attached to it. 

With reference to Urn Burial — a subject 
which under the name of cremation now largely 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xxxiii 

occupies the attention of sanitarians — it is 
worthy of note that Sir Thomas Browne was, 
amongst moderns, one of the earliest writers 
who approached it from a philosophical point 
of view. And when the narrow prejudices 
against this salutary practice are remembered, 
existing with but little diminution even to the 
present day, the enlightened argument of this 
remarkable treatise shows how very completely 
Sir Thomas, at least upon this point, had freed 
himself from the theological trammels in which 
he was educated. 

Apart from economical and moral considera- 
tions, from a medical point of view, no doubt, 
the ever-increasing density of the population, 
especially of large cities, and the best means 
of disposing of the dead, without risk of in- 
jury to the living, will soon become a burning 
question in more senses than one. Cremation 
appears to be the only safe method of render- 
ing the dead innocuous to the living. Sooner 
or later, we shall be driven to return to the 
wiser methods of Greece and Rome. The 
only valid objection to the universal applica- 
tion of cremation is the occasional danger 
which may arise of the destruction of the 
material evidence of poisoning : but it is pre- 
ferable that now and then a criminal should 
escape justice, than that the health of the 
innocent community should be jeopardised. 
c 



xxxiv BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION 

That Sir Thomas Browne should have 
viewed incineration so favourably, testifies 
to his eminently practical and tolerant 
wisdom — so far in advance of the age 
in which he lived; his name will always 
be imperishably identified with the beauti- 
fully symbolic custom of committing the 
dead to the embrace of fire, the very emblem 
of purification itself. 

^ To read Urn Burial for the first time,' it 
has been well said, 'is, indeed, one of the 
keenest enjoyments that a man can have, and 
once read it can never be forgotten.' 

De Quincey asks : ' Where shall one hope 
to find music so Miltonic, an intonation 
of such solemn chords as are struck in the 
opening bar of a passage in Urn Burial} 
What a melodious ascent as of a prelude to 
some impassioned requiem breathing from 
the pomps of earth, and from the sanctities 
of the grave! What a fluctus decumanus of 
rhetoric ! Time expounded, not by genera- 
tions or centuries, but by the vast periods 
of conquests and dynasties; by cycles of 
Pharaohs and Ptolemies, Antiochi, and 
Arsacides ! And these vast successions of 
time distinguished and figured by the uproars 
which revolve at their inaugurations ; by the 
drums and tramplings rolling overhead upon 
the chambers of forgotten dead — the trepida- 



BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION xxxv 

tions of time and mortality vexing at secular 
intervals the everlasting sabbaths of the grave ! 
Show us, O pedant, such another strain from 
the oratory of Greece and Rome ! ' 

Charles Lamb, an enthusiastic admirer of 
Urn Burial, quotes from its author more 
than from any other, and not infrequently 
his style shows kinship with that of Sir 
Thomas Browne's. 

Carlyle says : ' The conclusion of the essay 
on Urn-burial is absolutely beautiful: a still 
elegiac mood, so soft, so deep, so solemn and 
tender, like the song of some departed saint 
flitting faint under the everlasting canopy of 
night ; an echo of deepest meaning " from the 
great and famous nations of the dead." ' 

Coleridge, Southey, Hazlitt, Lytton, and 
among later writers Leslie Stephen, Walter 
Pater, and John Addington Symonds, have all 
paid loving tribute to Sir Thomas Browne; 
yet it cannot be said that he is read and 
appreciated as he deserves to be. This small 
volume is added to the various editions that 
already exist of the choicest of his works, in 
the hope that it may induce many to make 
him their frequent companion. 

I must gratefully acknowledge the assistance 
rendered to me in the collation of the various 
texts by my friend Mr. W. H. Bennett. 

D. LLOYD ROBERTS. 



LIST OF EDITIONS 



LIST of EDITIONS of the Religio Medici 
in the possession of the Editor^ and 
used in the preparation of the following 
text :— 

1642— Small 8vo, London, Crooke (two editions). 

1G43 — ,, London, Crooke. 

1G45 — ,, London, Crooke (two editions). 

1658 — Small folio, with marginal notes by S. T. Coleridge. 

1659— Small 8vo, London, Crook. 

1669 — ,, London, Crook. 

1669— ,, Another copy with marginal notes by 

S. T. Coleridge. 
1672— Small 4to, London, Crook. 
1682— Small 8vo, London, Scot, Basset, etc. 
1685 — Folio, London, Scott, Basset, etc. 
1736— l2mo, London, Torbuck. 
1754— Small 8vo, Edinburgh, printed by W. Ruddiman, 

jun. 
1831— l2mo, Oxford, Vincent. Edited by Thomas 

Chapman. 
1835 — 8vo, London, Pickering. Edited by Simon 

Wilkin. 
1844 — 8vo, London, Longman. Edited by John Peace. 
1845 — Small 8vo, London, Pickering. Edited by Rev. 

Henry Gardiner, M.A. 
1852— Small 8vo, London, H. G. Bohn. 
1869 — Small 8vo, London, Sampson Low, Son, & 

Marston. Edited by J. ^Y. Willis Bund, 

M.A., LL.B. 
1881— Small 8vo, London, Macmillan. Edited by W. A. 

Greenhill, M.D. Oxon. 



TO THE READER 

Certainly that man were greedy of life who 
should desire to live when all the world were 
at an end ; and he must needs be very im- 
patient who would repine at death in the 
society of all things that suffer under it. Had 
not almost every man suffered by the press, 
or were not the tyranny thereof become 
universal, I had not wanted reason for com- 
plaint : but in times wherein I have lived 
to behold the highest perversion of that 
excellent invention, the name of His Majesty 
defamed, the honour of Parliament depraved, 
the writings of both depravedly, anticipatively, 
counterfeitly imprinted : complaints may seem 
ridiculous in private persons ; and men of my 
condition may be as incapable of affronts_, as 
hopeless of their reparations. And truly had 
not the duty I owe unto the importunity of 
friends, and the allegiance I must ever ac- 
knowledge unto truth, prevailed with me ; the 
inactivity of my disposition might have made 
these sufferings continual, and time, that 
brings other things to light, should have 
satisfied me in the remedy of its oblivion. 



si 



xxxviii TO THE READER 

But because things evidently false are not 
only printed, but many things of truth most 
falsely set forth ; in this latter I could not but 
think myself engaged. For though we have 
no power to redress the former, yet in the 
other the reparation being within ourselves, I 
have at present represented unto the world a 
full and intended copy of that piece, which 
was most imperfectly and surreptitiously pub- 
lished before. 

This I confess, about seven years past,' with 
some others of affinity thereto, for my private 
exercise and satisfaction, I had at leisurable 
hours composed ; which being communicated 
unto one, it became common unto many, and 
was by transcription successively corrupted, 
until it arrived in a most depraved copy at the 
press. He that shall peruse that work, and 
shall take notice of sundry particularities and 
personal expressions therein, will easily discern 
the intention was not publick : and being a 
private exercise directed to myself, what is 
delivered therein was rather a ii i£inona l un to 
me^ t han an example or rule iin to an v other : 
and therefore if there be any singuTarity tTiere- 
in correspondent unto the private conceptions 
of any man, it doth not advantage them ; or if 
dissentaneous thereunto, it no way overthrows 
them. It was penned in such a place, and with 
such disadvantage, that (I protest) from the 



TO THE READER xxxix 

first setting of pen upon paper, I had not 
the assistance of any good book^ whereby to 
promote my invention or relieve my memory ; 
and therefore there might be many real 
lapses therein, which others might take 
notice of, and more than I suspected myself. 
It was set down many years past, and was > 
the sense of my conceptions at that time, | 
not an immutable law unto my advancing |l 
judgment at all times; and therefore there 
might be many things therein plausible unto 
my passed apprehension, which are not agree- 
able unto my present self. There are many 
things delivered rhetorically, many expressions 
therein merely tropical, and as they best illus- 
trate my intention; and therefore also there 
are many things to be taken in a soft and 
flexible sense, and not to be called unto the 
rigid test of reason. Lastly, all that is con- 
tained therein is in submission unto maturer 
discernments; and as I have declared, shall 
no further father them than the best and 
learned judgments shall authorize them : under 
favour of which considerations, I have made 
its secrecy publick, and committed the truth 
thereof to every ingenuous reader. 

THOMAS BROWNE, 



RELIGIO MEDICI 

THE FIRST PART 

For my religion, though there be several Our 
circumstances that might persuade the world chrStTan.^ 
I have none at all, — as the general scandal 
of my profession, the natural course of my 
studies, the indifferency of my behaviour and 
discourse in matters of religion (neither 
violently defending one, nor with that com- 
mon ardour and contention opposing another), 
-yet, in despite hereof, I dare without 
usurpation assume the honourable style of a 
l(Christi?^n^ . Not that I merely owe this title 
to the font, my education, or clime wherein 
I was born, as being bred up either to con- 
firm those principles my parents instilled into 
my unwary understanding, or by a general 
consent proceed in the religion of my country; 
but hayiy^g in jny riper years and confirm&d 
judgment seen and examined-aUj I find myself 
obliged by the principles of grace, and the 
law of mine ovni reason, to embrace no other 
name but this : neither doth herein my zeal 
so far make me forget the general charity I 
owe unto humanity, as rather to hate than 
pity Turks, Infidels, and (what is worse) Jews; 
rather contenting myself to enjoy that happy 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



Our 

Physician a 
Churchman, 




Differences 
of opinions 
need not 



style, than maligning those who refuse so 
glorious a title. 

II. But, because the name of a Christian is 
become too general to express our faith (there 
being a geography of religions as well as lands, 
and every clime distinguished not only by 
their laws and limits, but circumscribed by 
their doctrines and rules of faith), to be 
particular, I am of that reformed new-cast 
religion, wherein I dislike nothing but the 
name ; of the same belief our Saviour taught, 
the apostles disseminated, the fathers author- 
ized, and the martyrs confirmed ; but, by the 
sinister ends of princes, the ambition and 
avarice of prelates, and the fatal corruption 
of times, so decayed, impaired, and fallen from 
its native beauty, that it required the careful 
and charitable hand of these times to restore 
it to its primitive integrity. Now, the acci- 
dental occasion whereon, the slender means 
whereby, the low and abject condition of the 
person by whom so good a work was set on 
foot, which in our adversaries beget contempt 
and scorn, fills me with wonder, and is the 
very same objection the insolent Pagans first 
cast at Christ and his disciples. 

III. Yet have I not so shaken hands with 
those desperate resolutions (who had rather 
venture at large their decayed bottom than 
bring her in to be new-trimmed in the dock ; 
who had rather promiscuously retain all than 
abridge any, and obstinately be what they are 
than what they have been) as to stand in 
diameter and sword's point with them. We 
have reformed from them, not against them : 



RELIGIO MEDICI 3 

for, omitting those improperations and terms 
of scurrility betwixt us, which only difference 
our affections, and not our cause, there is 
between us one common name and appella- 
tion, one faith and necessary body of principles 
common to us both; -and therefore I am not 
scrupulous to converse and live with them, to 
enter their churches in defect of ours, and 
either pray with them, or for them. I could ^ x, 
never perceive any rational consequence from \^i' 
those many texts which prohibit the children J"^ 
of Israel to pollute themselves with the \ 
temples of the heathens ; ^ we being aH 
Christians, and not divided by such detested 
impieties as might profane our prayers, or 
the place wherein we make them ; or that 
a resolved conscience may not adore her 
Creator anywhere, especially in places devoted 
to his service; where, if their devotions offend 
him, mine may please him ; if theirs profane 
it, mine may hallow it. Holy water and 
crucifix (dangerous to the common people) 
deceive not my judgment, nor abuse mjL . <: 

devotion at all. I am, I_confe_ss, naturall y^ />^V^*^ 
incl ined to that wh ich misguided zpin} tf^rnr) s u 
superstition : my common conversation I d^-U- 
acknowIeHge austere, my behaviour full of 
rigour, sometimes not without morosity ; yet, 
at my devotion I love to use the civility of 
my knee, my hat, and hand, with all those 
outward and sensible motions which may ex- 
press or promote my invisible devotion. I 
should violate my own arm rather than a 
church; nor willingly deface the name of 
saint or martyr. At the sight of a cross, or 



i 



4 RELIGIO MEDICI 

crucifix, I can dispense with my hat, but 
scarce with the thought or memory of my 
Saviour. I cannot laugh at, but rather pity 
the fruitless journeys of pilgrims, or contemn 
the miserable condition of friars ; for^Jhough 
^I^lfDl^i^JJr ^^^^nmstfUl^f^.tb-'^^^J'-''' som£thing 
in it of devotion. I could never hear the Ave 
Mane beH: ^without an elevation, or think it 
a sufficient warrant, because they erred in one 
circumstance, for me to err in all, — that is, in 
silence and dumb contempt. Whilst, there- 
fore, they directed their devotions to her, I 
offered mine to God, and rectified the errors 
of their prayers by rightly ordering mine own. 
At a solemn procession I have wept abundantly, 
while my consorts, blind with opposition and 
prejudice, have fallen into an access of scorn 
and laughter. There are, questionless, both 
in Greek, Roman, and African churches, 
solemnities and ceremonies, whereof the wiser 
zeals do make a Christian use ; and stand 
condemned by us, not as evil in themselves, 
but as allurements and baits of superstition 
to those vulgar heads that look asquint on the 
face of truth, and those unstable judgments 
that cannot consist in the narrow point and 
centre of virtue without a reel or stagger to 
the circumference. 
Of Reforma- IV. As there were many reformers, so like- 
wise many reformations ; every country pro- 
ceeding in a particular way and method, 

1 A church-bell, that tolls every day at six and twelve 
of the clock ; at ,the hearing whereof every one, in what 
place soever, either of house or street, betakes himself to 
his prayer, which is commonly directed to the Virgin. 



tions 



RELIGIO MEDICI 6 

according as their national interest, together 
with their constitution and clime inclined 
them : some angrily and with extremity ; 
others calmly and with mediocrity, not rend- 
ing, but easily dividing the community, and 
leaving an honest possibility of a reconciliation ^. '"^ 
which, though peaceable spirits do desire, and 
may conceive that revolution of time and the 
mercies of God may effect, yet that judgment 
that shall consider the present antipathies 
between the two extremes, their contrarieties 
in condition, affection, and opinion, may, with 
the same hopes, expect an union in the poles 
of heaven. 

V. But, to difference myself nearer, and ^\^^\ 
draw into a lesser circle ; there is no church England. 
whose every part so squares unto my con- 
science, whose articles, constitutions, and cus- 
toms seem so consonant unto reason, and, as 
it were, framed to my particular devotion, as 
this whereof I hold my belief, the Church of 
England ; to whose faith I am a sworn subject, 
and therefore, in a double obligation, subscribe 
unto her Articles, and endeavour to observe . 
her Constitutions. .Whatsoever is beyond, as^^^o/?^, 
points ind ifferent, I observe according^tcTthe '' 

rules ot my private reason, or the humour and 
faslTion of my devotionT neither believing this 
beranse^ Ltrttei* affirflied it, or disproving that, 
because Calvin hath disavouched it. I con- 
demn not all things in the Council of Trent, 
nor approve all in the Synod of Dort. Itt-V' tr^ 
brief, where the Scripture is silent, the Church ^ 

is my text; wh ere tha t speaks, 'tis but my 
comment; where there is a jomt silence of 



6 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



# 



Disputes : 
Religion 
wisely 
avoided. 



both, I borrow not the rules of my religion 
from Rome or Geneva, but the dictate s of my 
own reason . It is an unjust scandal of our 
adversaries, and a gross error in ourselves, 
t.Q-.compute th e nativity of our re ligion from 
jlenry the Eig hth ; who, though he rejected 
the Pope, refused not the faith of Rome, and 
effected no more than what his own pre- 
decessors desired and assayed in ages past, 
and was conceived the State of Venice would 
have attempted in our days. It is as uncharit- 
able a point in us to fall upon those popular 
scurrilities and opprobrious scoffs of the Bishop 
of Rome, to whom, as a temporal prince, we 
owe the duty of good language. I confess 
there is cause of passion between us : by his 
sentence I stand excommunicated; heretick is 
the best language he affords me : yet can no 
ear witness I ever returned to him the name 
of Antichrist, Man of Sin, or Whore of Babylon, 
ItJs the method of charity to suffer wjthpnt 
r eaction : those usual satires and invectives 
f the pulpit may perchance produce a good 
e fj lppf m-^ i; h p vulgar, whose ears are open er to 
rhetorick than Iq^jpIcj ypt do thpy in no wise 



n 



confirm the faitn ol^wiser belie vers^ who know 
that^a good cause ne eds not to be patroned 
by a passion, but can "sustaiir~itself up on a 
temperate dispu te. 

Vl. 1 could never divide myself from any 
man upon the difference of an opinion, or be 
a'ngry with his judgment for not agreeing 
with me in that from which perhaps within 
a few days I should dissent myself. I have 
no genius to disputes -in religion, and., have 



RELIGIO MEDICI 7 

often thought it wisdom to dech'ne them, 
especially upon a disadvantage^ or when the 
cause of truth might suffer in the weakness 
of my patronage. Where we desire to be 
informed, 'tis good to contest with men above 
ourselves ; but to confirm and establish our 
opinion 'tis best to argue with judgments 
below our own, that the frequent spoils and 
victories over their reasons may settle in our- 
selves an esteem and confirmed opinion of our 
own. Every man is not a proper champion 
for truth, nor fit to take'ujp the gauntlet in 
tHe cause orverity T^many, from the ignorance 
of these maxims, and an inconsiderate zeal 
unto truth, have too rashly charged the troops 
of error, and remain as trophies unto the 
enemies of truth. A man may be in as just 
possession of truth as of a city, and yet be 
forced to surrender; 'tis therefore far better 
to enjoy her with peace than to hazard her 
on a battle. If, therefore, there rise any 
doubts in my way, I do forget them, or at 
least defer them, till my better settled judg- 
ment and more manly reason be able to re- 
solve them ; for I perceive every man's own 
reason is his best CEdipus, and will, upon a 
reasonable truce, find a way to loose those 
bonds wherewith the subtleties of error have 
enchained our more flexible and tender judg- Fantasies ir 
ments.J In philosophy, where truth seems £ng"erous 
louble-faced, there is no man more paradoxi- as giving 



errors ; 



cal than myself: hirHnj ^rliviriity)! Iny f Jil>:r£r ^"""^""'^ 
the road ; and, though n ot in an im plicJ L-yet 
an hum ble'taith, toll owthe,.greatjdie£Lof the 
Church,"^ by which I mo ve ; not reserving any 



8 RELIGIO MEDICI 

proper poles, or motion from the epicycle of 
my own brain. By this means I leave no gap 
for heresies, schisms, or errors, of which at 
present I hope I shall not injure truth to say 
whereof our I havc no taint or tincture. I must confess 
coSess^th to ^y greener studies have been polluted with 
have had two two or three; not any begotten in the latter 
centuries, but old and obsolete, such as could 
never have been revived but by such extrava- 
gant and irregular heads as mine. For, in- 
deed, heresies perish not with their authors ; 
but, like the river Arethusa, though they lose 
their currents in one place, they rise up again 
in another. One general council is not able 
to extirpate one single heresy : it may be 
cancelled for the present; but revolution of 
time, and the like aspects from heaven, will 
restore it, when it will flourish till it be con- 
demned again. For, as though there were a 
metempsychosis, and the soul of one man 
passed into another, opinions do find, after 
certain revolutions, men and minds like those 
that first begat them. To see ourselves again, 
we need not look for Plato's year ;i every man 
is not only himself; there hath been many 
'' Diogenes, and as many Timons, though but 
^ few of that name ; men are lived over agai n ; 
^^ ^e world is now as it was in ap^es past ; jngre 
en, but there hath been some on e 
since that parallels him, and is, as it were, his 
revived self — ' -^ ' 

'1 A revolution of certain thousand years, when all 
things should return unto their former estate, and he be 
teaching again in his school, as when he delivered this 
opinion. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 9 

VII. Now the first of mine was that of the ist, That the 
Arabians ; that the souls of men perished with fnlome^t 
their bodies, but should yet be raised a<rain p^^'^K'^ 

1 1 1 1 T Ti 111 rise again 

a t the _iast-£w; not that I did absolutely with the 
conceive a mortality of the soul, but if that ^'^^' 
were (which faith^ not philosophy, hath yet 
thoroughly disproved), and that both entered 
the grave together, yet I held the same con- 
ceit thereof that we all do of the body, that 
it should rise again. Surely it is but the 
merits of our unworthy natures, if we sleep in 
darkness until the last alarum. A serious 
reflex upon my own unworthiness did make 
me backward from challenging this prerogative 
of my soul : so I might enjoy my Saviour at 
the last, I could with patience do nothing 
almost unto eternity. The second was that 2nd, That all 
of Origen ; that God would not persist in his Ely be 
vengeance for ever, but after a definite time saved ; 
of his wrath he would release the damned 
souls from torture; which error I fell into 
upon a serious contemplation of the great 
attribute of God, his mercy ; and did a little 
cherish it in myself, because I found therein 
no malice, and a ready weight to sway me 
from the other extreme of despair, whereunto * 
melancholy and contemplative natures are too 
easily disposed. A third there is which I did 3rd, That we 
never positively maintain or practise, but have fbr^the^"^^^ 
often wished it had been consonant to truth l^^^'^- 
and not offensive to my religion, and that is, 
the prayer for the dead ; whereunto I was 
inclined from some charitable inducements, 
whereby I could scarce contain my prayers 
for a friend at the ringing of a bell, or behold 



V 



10 RELIGIO MEDICI 

his corpse without an oraison for his soul. 
'Twas a good way methought to be remem- 
bered by posterity, and far more noble than 
But these an history. These opinions I never maintained 
not^to'grol with pertinacity, or endeavoured to inveigle 
into heresies, any man's belief unto mine, nor so much as 
ever revealed, or disputed them with my 
dearest friends; by which means I neither 
propagated them in others, nor confirmed 
them in myself: but, suffering them to flame 
upon their own substance without addition of 
new fuel, they went out insensibly of them- 
selves ; therefore these opinions, though con- 
demned by lawful councils, were not heresies 
in me, but bare errors, and single lapses of 
my understanding, without a joint depravity 
of my will. Those have not only depraved 
understandings, but diseased affections, which 
cannot enjoy a singularity without a heresy, 
or be the author of an opinion without they 
be of a sect also. This was the villainy of 
the first schism of Lucifer ; who was not 
content to err alone, but drew into his faction 
many legions of spirits ; and upon this experi- 
ence he tempted only Eve, as well understand- 
ing the communicable nature of sin, and thai; 
to deceive but one was tacitly and upoij 
consequence to delude them both. 1 

St. Matt. VIII. That heresies should arise we have 

j^CoT^xi%. the prophecy of Christ ; but that old ones 

( ?\d^^ "^^"' should be abolished we hold no prediction. 

I of schism, That there must be heresies, is true not only 
piying?tself. ^^ ^^^ church, but also in any other : even in 

^ doctrines heretical there will be super-heresies ; 

and Arians, not only divided from their church, 



RELIGIO MEDICI 11 

but also among themselves : for heads that 
are disposed unto schism, and eomplexionally 
propense to innovation, are naturally indisposed 
foT3_ connnunrty ; nor will be ever confined 
unto the order or economy of one body ; and 
therefore, when^ they separate from othe^ 
f^jUtnit^biiJLjQasdy .amQrLg:-themselves ; nor 
I contented with 3 general breack or dichotomy 
•vB.tJi. their church, do subdivide and mince_ 
themselves dm.QstJntg,atoms 'Tis true, that 
of singular parts and humours have noi 
been free from singular opinions and conceits 
in all ages; retaining something not only 
beside the opinion of his own church or any 
other, but also any particular author ; which, 
notwithstanding, a sober judgment may do 
without offence or heresy; for there is yet, 
after all the decrees of councils, and the 
niceties of the schools, many things, untouched, 
unimagined, wherein the liberty of an honest 
reason may play and expatiate with security, 
and far without the circle of an heresy. 

IX. As for those wingy mysteries in divinity /Mysteries in 
and airy subtleties in religion, which havef JJjjy"JJ^g 
unhinged the brains of better heads, thejl approached 
never stretched the pia rnater of mine. Me-i *" 
thinks_thf!re be not impossibilities enolij^Ti 
m religion for im ^f^tivp faifh : the deepest 
mysteries ours contains have not only been 
illustrated, but maintained, by syllogism and 
the rule of reason. I love- to lose myself in 
a myster y ; to pursue my reason to _jan RlJm. xi. 33, 
dlittuclo I lis rny solitary recreation to pose ^1 
my apprehension with those involved enigmas 
and riddles of the Trinity, with Incarnation 



12 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



De Came 
Christi, c. 5. 



Blessed are 
they that 
have not 
seen, and 
yet have 
believed. 
St. John 
XX. 29. 



The armour 
of a 

Christian. 
Eph. vi. 16. 



and Resurrection. I can answer all the objec- 
tions of Satj.n and my rebellious reason with 
that"l)dd' resolution I learned ofTertullian, 
Cerium est quia impossibile est. I desire_^ to 
exercise my faith in the difficultest.. point ; 
for, to creditjordinary and visible objects, is 
not faith, but persuasion. Some believe the 
better for seeing "Christ his sepulchre; and, 
when they have seen the Red Sea, doubt not 
of the miracle. Now contr^'fly, T~bless myself, 
and am thankful, that I lived not in the days 
of miracles ; that I never saw Christ nor his 
disciples. I would not have been one of those 
Israelites that passed the Red Sea; nor one 
of Christ's patients on whom he wrought his 
wonders : tl^en h^d my failh^lieen thrust upon 
me^ nor should I enjoy tliaL^reater blessing 
pronounced to all tha tjjelieye and saw not. 
'Tis an easy~and necessary belief to credit 
what our eye and sense hath examined. I 
believe he was dead, and buried, and rose 
again : and desire to see him in his glory, 
rather than to contemplate him in his cenotaph 
or sepulchre. Nor is this much to believe ; 
as. jve have reasjon, we owe this faith unto 
^story : thev onIj£I I iad th e - a dv a n t a ge of a 
bold and'^noblefoith, who lived before his 
coming,' who upon obscure prophecies and 
mystical types could raise a belief, and expect 
apparent impossibilities. 

X. 'Tis true, there is an edge in all firm 
belief, and with an easy metaphor we may say, 
the sword of faith ; but in these obscurities I 
rather use it in the adjunct the apostle gives 
it, a buckler ; under which I perceive a wary 



RELIGIO MEDICI 13 

combatant may lie invulnerable, ^ince I was 
of understanding to know we knew„nothing, 
inyJr^s5ir"Kaf ^lifeeji, joa^ to the will 

of faith: I am now content to understand a 
mystery wUhoi^Lja^Tigid-dgfinition, in an easy 
J35ld_tl^omck_jle^ription, 'iTiat allegoricai' 
description of Hermes^ pleaseth me beyond 
all the metaphysical definitions of divines. 
Where I cannot satisfy my reason, I love to 
JinOrffdur my fancy: I had as lieve you tell 
me that anima est angelus hominis, est corpus 
Dei, as hjcXiyjua ; — lux est umbra Dei, as actus 
perspicui. Where there is an obscurity too 
deep for our reason, 'tis good to sit down 
with a description, periphrasis, or adumbra- 
tion ; fpr_by acquainting our reason ho"^^ 
^iP^^hl£jii^5-ii^^^^ the visible, and obvious 1 
eHects^ofjiaturej it becomes more humble and I 

sut^n )iggiv^' nnl-n t.h^^giibtTpfipsnf' faith ; and I 

thus I teach my haggard and unreclaimed \ 
jreasb h to stoo^jintq the lure^or faith. I be^*^ 
lieve'ltliere was already a tree whose fruit our 
^nhappi^parents tasted, though, in the same 
cKapter, when God forbids it, 'tis positively 
said, the plants of the field were not yef 
gi'owh;~Jhr God 1idd not caused it to rain 7i!/;on Gen. uTsTl 
the earth. I believe that the serpent (if we -^ 

shall literally understand it) from his proper 
form and figure, made his motion on his belly. Gen. Hi. 14. 
before the curse. I find the trial of the 
pucelage and virginity of women, which God Deut. xxii. 
ordained the Jews, is very fallible. Experi- ^^' ^*^" 
ence and history informs me, that not only 
many particular women, but likewise whole 
1 Sphcsra cujus centrum uhiquc, circumferentia nullibi. 



14 Rlf^LIGIO MEDICI 

nations have esjcaped the curse of childbirth, 

which God seims to pronounce upon the 

• V whole sex; yet do I believe that all this is 

true, wliich, indeed, my reason would per- 

/ suade me to be false : and th is, I th ink, is .no 

"■ vulgar part of faith, ^to'lT ^TTevp. a. thing_iy>1- 

< only a bove, bu t cpfttrar^ to r eason, and^gainst 

I ^ig ^^'gm^ents bf our prop er senses. 

I XT. In my solitary and retired imagination 

Horace, (neque enim cum porticus aut me 

Sat. I. 4. 133. Lectulus accepit, desum mihi), 

I remember I am not alone ; and therefore 
forget not to contemplate him and his attri- 
butes, who is ever with me, especially those 
two mighty ones, Jii^ wisdom and eternity. 
With the one I recreate^ "witliJth£._Qther I 

The Eternity confound^ my understanding : jfor ^^qQ^J}^ 
^peak of eternity witheut'a' sole^sm, or tnmK*^ 
thereof without an ecstasy ? Time we may 
comprehend; 'tis bur^five days elder than 
ourselves, and hath the same horoscope with 
the world ; but to retire so far back as to 
apprehend a beginning, to give such an in- 
finite start foi-ward as to conceive an end, in 
an essence that we affirm hath neither-,<the 
one nor the other, it puts my reason to St. 
Paul's sanctuary : my philosophy dares not 
say the angels can do it. god hathjriot^made 
/ ^ a creat ure that, ran comprehend^ him ; 'tis, a 

Ex. iii. 14V priv ilege of hi s own natyre. I AM THAT 

^ 1 AM, was his own definition unto Moses; 

and 'twas a short one to confound mortality, 

that durst question God, or ask him what he 

was. Indeed, he only is ; all others have and 

I 



RELIGIO MEDICI 16 

shall be ; but in eternity there is no distinc-\ 
tion of tenses; and therefore that terrible 
term predestination , which hath troubled so 
many weak heads to conceive, and the wisest 
to explain, is in respect to God no P^escious 
determination o f our estates to comeT^BunT' 
definiti ve blast oThis wlTTalrea dy fulfilled, a n d 
at theTnstant that heUrst d ecree d it; for to 
Ins eternity, "VvliicTris^T!n3ivisible,'^and all to- 
gether, the last trump is already sounded, the 
reprobates in the flame, and the blessed in 
Abraham's bosom. St. Peter speaks modestly, St. Luke 
when he saith, a thousand years to God arc bid 2 pet.^iii. 
as one day; for, to speak like a philosopher, 
those continued instances of time which flow ^ 
into a thousand years, make not to him one 
moment. What to us is to come, to his 
eternity is present ; hisjvhol 
but one permanent IfomtTwit 




parts, riux^j of^HJ: 

XI 1. Tkere is no attribute thUl idds more Of the 
difficulty to the mystery of the Trinity, where. Trinity, 
though in a relative way of Father and Son, 
we must deny a priority. I wonder how pe Caio, 
Aristotle could conceive the world eternal, '' ^°' ^' 
or how he could make good two eternities. 
His similitude, of a triangle comprehended in De Animd, 
a square, doth somewhat illustrate the trinity "' ^' ^" 
of our souls, and that the triple unity of God ; 
for there is in us not three, but a trinity of 
souls ; because there is in us, if not three dis- 
tinct souls, yet differing faculties, that can 
and do subsist apart in different subjects, and 
yet in us are so united as to make but one 
soul and substance. If one soul were so per- 

t 



16 RELIGIO MEDICI 

feet as to inform three distinct bodies^ that 
were a petty trinity. Conceive the distinct 
number of^ three, not divided nor separated 
hj the inteIie<y7n5Ut_actually comprehended 
in its "uiilty, and_Jthat^T£^li^ 
]r have" often admired the mystical way of 
Pythagoras, and the secret magick of num- 
bers. Beware of philosophy, is a precept not 
to be received in too large a sense : for, in 
this mass of nature, there is a set of things 
that carry in their front, though not in 
capital letters, yet in stenography and short 
characters, something of divinity; which, to 
wiser reasons, serve as luminaries in the abyss 
of knowledge, and, to judicious beliefs, as 
scales and roundles to mount the pinnacles 
The visible and highest pieces of divinity. The severe 
^cture^of schools shall never laugh me out of the philo- 
the invisible, sophy of Hermes, that this visible world is 
<^ • but a picture of the invisible, wherein, as 
Kf in a pourtract, things are not truly, but in 
JJJ equivocal shapes, and as they counterfeit 
^v some more real substance in that invisible 
fabrick. 
The Wisdom XIII. That other attribute, wherewith I 
°^ ' recreate my devotion, is his wisdom, in which 
I am happy; and for the contemplation of 
this only, do not repent me that I was bred 
in the way of study. The advantage I have 
of the vulgar, with the content and happiness 
I conceive therein, is an ample recompense 
for all my endeavours, in what part of know- 
ledge soever. Wjs^x3LixL _is_his most beautequs. 
1 Kings attr ibute: n n-"^g" raiT^at taiii u nto it^ : yet 
"'• 5' ^^^' Sofembn jBkas^d God^ jvhen he d esirfid-it^- 



RELIGIO MEDICI 17 

He is wise, because he knows all things ; and 
he knoweth all things, because he made them j 
all: b.ut his g reatest knowledge is i n com- [/ 
nrehe^ing that^ he made not, that is, himself. ' 
And 'tETirrr'also the greatest knowledge in 
man. For this do I honour my own pro- 
fession, and embrace the counsel even of the 
devil himself; had he read such a lecture in 
paradise as he did at Delphos,i we had better 
known ourselves, nor had we stood in fear to 
know him. I know he is wise in all, wonder- 
ful in what we conceive, but far more in what 
we comprehend not ; for we behold him but 
asquint, upon reflex or shadow; our under- 
standing is dimmer than Moses' eye, we are 
ignorant of the back parts or lower side of 
his divinity. Therefore to pry into the maze 
of his counsels, is not only folly in man, but 
presumption even in angelsj like us, they are 
his servants, not his senators;, lie holds no 
council but that mystical one of the Trinity, 
wherein though there be ^hree Persons, there 
is but pnje, milld-Jiia^L der.re.es withniii -CQIL-^ 
t radictio nj nor needs he any, his actions 
are not begot with deliberation, his wisdom 
naturally knows what is best; his intellect 
stands ready fraught with the superlative and 
purest ideas of goodness ; consultation and 
election, which are two motions in us, make 
but one in him ; his actions springing from 
his power, at the first touch of his will. 
These are contemplations metaphysical; my 
humble speculations have another method, 
and are content to trace and discover those 



■ 



1 Tpudi aeaxnbv, Nosce teipsum. 



/ 



18 RELIGIO MEDICI 

expressions he hath left in his creatures, and 
No danger the obvious effects of nature. There is no 
ing^toSace danger to profound these mysteries, no sanc- 
t^ehandof turn saiictorwn in philosophy; the w orld was 
works. made to be inhabited by beasts, buT studied 

and contemplated by man ; 'tis The '3"e5t~of 
our reason we owe unto God, and the homage 
" w ^ P^ y for not bein g beasts ; without this 
'THe worlH is still as tTiough it had not been, 
or as it was before the sixth day, when as yet 
there was not a creature that could conceive 
or say there was a world. The wisdom of 
God receives small honour from those vulgar 
heads that rudely stare about, and with a 
gross rusticity admire his works ; those highly 
magnify him, whose judicious enquiry into his 
acts, and deliberate research into his creatures, 
return the duty of a devout and learned ad- 
miration. Therefore — 

Search while thou wilt, and let thy reason go 

To ransom truth e'en to th' abyss below ; 

Rally the scattered causes, and that line 

'W'^hich nature twists, be able to untwine. 

XL is thy M ake£S_will, for ujitajimia.. 

But unto r eason can_he_e'er b e known. 

The devils do"know thee, but those damned 

meteours 
Build not thy glory, but confound thy creatures. 
Teach my endeavours so thy works to read. 
That learning them in thee I may proceed. 
Give thou my reason that instructive flight. 
Whose weary wings may on thy hands still light. 
Teach me to soar aloft, yet ever so. 
When near the sun, to stoop again below. 
Thus shall my humble feathers safely hover. 
And, though near earth, more than the heavens 

discover. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 19 

And then at last, when homeward I shall drive, 
Rich with the spoils of nature, to my hive. 
There will I sit, like that industrious fly. 
Buzzing thy praises, which shall never die 
Till death abrupts them, and succeeding glory 
Bid me go on in a more lasting story. 

And this is almost all wherein an humble 
creature may endeavour to requite, and some 
way to retribute unto his Creator ; for if not he St. Matt. 
that sayeth ' Lord, Lord,' bid he that doeth the ^"' ^^' 
will of the Father shall he saved, certainly our 
wills must be our performances, and our 
intents make out our actions ; otherwise our 
pious labours shall find anxiety in their graves, 
and our best endeavours not hope, but fear, 
a resurrection. 

XIV. There is but one first cause, and four Every 
second causes of all tilings. Some are with- e^seice hath 
out efficient, as God ; others without matter, its proper 
as angels ; some without form, as the first 
matter: but every essence, created or un- ^ 
created, hath its final cause, and some positive I 
end both of its essence and operation. This 
is the cause I grope after in the works of 
nature ; on this hangs the providence of God. 
To raise so beauteo us a stru cture asJ:hp world 
qind_the_ creature s thereof was but his , art ; 
but their sundry and divided operations, with 
their predestinated ends, are from the treasury 
of his wisdom. In the causes, nature, and 
affection of the eclipse of sun and moon, there 
is most excellent speculation ; but to profound 
farther, and to contemplate a reason why his 
> ov'^^ence hath so disposed and ordered their 
ti ,ns in that vast circle, as to conjoin and 



20 RELIGIO MEDICI 

obscure each other, is a sweeter piece of 
reason, and a diviner point of philosophy. 
Therefore, sometimes, and in some things, 
there appears to me as much divinity in 
Galen his books, De Usu Partium, as in Suarez' 
Metaphysicks. Had Aristotle been as curious 
in the enquiry of this cause as he was of the 
other, he had not left behind him an imperfect 
piece of philosophy, but an absolute tract of 
divinity. 
Naturedoeth XV. Ntttura nihil amt frustra, is the only 

vaTn. -mHicp^ifoMf^ ajjr^rrt in philr>c^phy 1 hcrC arC 

no grotesques in nature ; nor any thing framed 
to fill up empty cantons, and unnecessary 
spaces. In the most imperfect creatures, 
and such as were not preserved in the ark, 
but, having their seeds and principles in the 
womb of nature, are everywhere, where the 
power of sun is ; in these is the wisdom of his 
hand discovered. Out of this rank Solomon 
chose the object of his admiration ; indeed, 
Prov. vi. 6-8 ; what reason may not go to school to the 
XXX. 24-28. wisdom of bees, ants, and spiders ? What 
wise hand teacheth them to do what reason 
cannot teach us } Ruder heads stand amazed 
at those prodigious pieces of nature, whales, 
elephants, dromedaries, and camels; these, I 
confess, are the colossus and majestick pieces 
of her hand ; but in these narrow engines 
there is more curious mathematicks ; and the 
civility of these little citizens more neatly 
sets forth the wisdom of their Maker, 
admires not Regio-Montanus his fly be} 
his eagle ; ^ or wonders not more a*-ns 
1 Regio-Montanus [1436-75], otherwise John M' 



I 



RELIGIO MEDICI 21 

operation of two souls in those little bodies 
than but one in the trunk of a cedar ? I 
could never content my contemplation with 
those general pieces of wonder, the flux and 
reflux of the sea, the increase of Nile, the 
conversion of the needle to the north ; and 
have studied to match and parallel those in 
the more obvious and neglected pieces of 
nature which, without further travel, I can do 
in the cosmography of myself. We carry 
with us the wonders we seek without us : 
there is all Africa and her prodigies in us. 
We are that bold and adventurous piece of 
natnre, which he that studies, wisely learns 
in a compendium what others labour at in a 
divided piece and endless volume. 

XVI. Thus there are two books from Nature a 
whence I collect my divinity. Besides that S.°^''" 
w ritten cne of God, another of his s ervant , 
nature, that universal and publick manuscript, 
that lies expansed unto the eyes of all. Those 
that never saw him in the one ha ve discovered 
him in the othe rj this was the Scriptur g_jaad 
The olo gy of th e h eathens ; the natural motion 
of tlie sun made"tHem more admire him than 
its supernatural station did the children of 
Israel. The ordinary effect of nature wrought josh, 
more admiration in them than, in the other, ^3- 
all his miracles. Surely the heathens knew 
better how to join and read these mystical 
letters than we Christians, who cast a more 
careless eye on these common hieroglyphicks, 
IS ni((jjgja^ijj |-Q suck divinity from the flowers 
farth ^ 

>--^y;sberg, made a mechanical iron fly and wooden eagle, 
.of which were able to fly. 



22 RELIGIO MEDICI 

of nature. N or do I so fo rget^God as to 
adore the name^nature ;jwiil3n I^ d not, 

with TITe schools, the principle of motion and 
rest,Jbut, that straight and rejujarlme, that 
setHed and~^hstant_£our^e_..t^^ of 

TjodTiath ordaine3~the actions of his creatures, 
a5cordiBg:JtoJt|ieir'seve^^ To make a 

revolution every day is the nature of the sun, 
because of that necessary course which God 
hath ordained it, from which it cannot swerve 
but by a faculty from that voice which first 
did give it motion. Now this course of nature 
God seldom alters or perverts ; but, like an 
excellent artist, hath so contrived his work, 
that with the self-same instrument, without 
a new creation, he may effect his obscurest 
Ex. XV. 25. designs. Thus he sweeteneth the water with 
a wood, preserveth the creatures in the ark, 
which the blast of his mouth might have as 
easily created ; for God is like a skilful 
geometrician, who, when more easily, and 
with one stroke of his compass, he might 
describe or divide a right line,_had^et rather 
do this in a circle or longer way, according 
to the^ constituted and forelaldprincipTes of 
HTs'"art : yet~this 1Fule oF~hrs~Tie"craEli~"some- 
times~ pervert, to acquaint the world with 
his prerogative. Jest the arrogancy o f ou r 
reason should question his jmwer^and con- 
clude he could ijot. " 'And thus I~*caTr the 
effects of nature the works of God, whose 
hand and instrument she only is; and 
therefore to ascribe Kis actions unto' her, is 
to devolve the honour of the principal 
agent upon the instrument ; which if with 



Ecclus 
xxxviii. 5, 



RELIGIO MEDICI 28 

reason we may do, then let our hammers rise 
up and boast they have built our houses, and 
our pens receive the honour of our writings. 
I hold there is a general beauty in the works. - 
of God, and therefore no deformity in any Eccius. 
kind or species of creature whatsoever. I ^J'g^; ^J' 34- 
cannot tell by what logick we call a toad, a 
bear, or an elephant ugly ; they being created 
in those outward shapes and figures whichj 
best express the^ctions of their inward forms ; ' 
and having past tliat general visitation of God, Gen. i. 31. 
who saw that all that he had made was good, 
that is, conformable to his will, which abhors 
deformity^ and is the ru^leq^fprderjand beauty. 
There is no deformity but in monstrosity; 
wherein, notwithstanding, there is a kind of 
beauty ; nature so ingeniously contriving the 
irregular parts as they become sometimes 
more remarkable than the principal fabrick. 
To speak yet more narrowly, there was never 
any thing ugly or mis-shapen but the chaos ; 
wherein, notwithstanding, to speak strictly, 
there was no deformity, because no form ; nor 
was it yet impregnate by the voice of God. 
Now, nature is not at variance with art, nor 
art with nature ; X^^ b ein^ b oth the servants 
qf his providence.. Art is the perfection of 'Nature the 
jiature. Were the world now as it wastKe GocTdoth ^ 
sixth day, there were yet a chaos. Nature govern the 
hath made one world, and art another. In 
brief, all things are artificial ; for nature is the v' 
art of^od. 

"~XVII. This is the ordinary and open way of 
his providence, which art and industry have 
in a good part discovered ; whose effects we 



24 RELIGIO MEDICI 

Providence may foretcll without an oracle. To foreshow 

caikd^^*^ these is not prophecy, but prognostication. 

Fortune. There is another way, full of meanders and 
labyrinths, whereof the devil and spirits have 
no exact ephemerides : and that is a more 
particular and obscure method of his provi- 
dence ; directing the operations of individuals 
( J and single essences : this we call fortune ; that 
serpentine and crooked line, whereby he draws 
those actions his wisdom intends in a more 
unknown and secret way. This cryptick and 
involved method of his providence have I ever 
admired ; nor can I relate the history of my 
life, the occurrences of my days, the escapes 
of dangers, and hits of chance, with a hezo las 
manos to Fortune, or a bare gramercy to my 

Gen. xxii. 13. good stars. Abraham might have thought the 
ram in the thicket came thither by accident : 
human reason would have said that mere 

Ex. ii. 3. chance conveyed Moses in the ark to the sight 
of Pharaoh's daughter. What a labyrinth is 

Gen. xxxvii. there in the story of Joseph, able to convert a 
stoick. Surely there ar e in every man's life 
cer tain rubs^ doublings, and wrenches7~wh ich 
p ass a while under the effects of cha ncej^lmt 
ar the In st^ wpII e.xi\\x\\wex\ . prove the_ m ere 
handjiLGod.-_^was not dumb chance that, 
to discover the fougade, or powder plot, con- 
trived a miscarriage in the letter. I like the 
victory of '88 the better for that one occur- 
rence which our enemies imputed to our dis- 
honour and the partiality of fortune ; to wit, 
the tempests and contrariety of winds. King 
Philip did not detract from the nation, when 
he said, he sent his armada to fight with men, 



RELIGIO MEDICI 26 

and not to combat with the winds. Where 
there is a manifest disproportion between the 
powers and forces of two several agents^ upon 
a maxim of reason we may promise the victory 
to the superior: but when unexpected acci- 
dents shp in, and unthought-of occurrences 
intervene, these must proceed from a power 
that owes no obedience to those axioms; 
where, as in the writing upon the wall, we Dan. v. 5. 
may behold the hand, but see not the spring 
that moves it. The success of that petty pro- 
vince of Holland (of which the Grand Seignior 
proudly said, ' If they should trouble him, as 
they did the Spaniard, he would send his men 
with shovels and pickaxes, and throw it into 
the sea') I cannot altogether ascribe to the 
ingenuity and industry of the people, but to 
the mercy of God, that hath disposed them to 
such a thriving genius ; and to the will of his 
providence, that disposeth her favour to each 
country in their preordinate season. All can- 
not be happy at once ; for, because JJi£_glory^ 
of one state depends upon the ruin of another, 
"theFeTs ~a rev^tToni andTVicissifuHe" oT their 
greatness, and must obey the swing of that 
wheel not moved by intelligences, but by the 
hand of God, whereby all estates arise to their 
zenith and vertical points, according to their 
predestinated periods. For the lives, not only 
of men, but of commonweals and the whole 
world, run not upon an helix that still en- 
largeth ; but on a circle, where, arriving to 
their meridian, they decline in obscurity, and 
fall under the horizon again. 

XVIII. These must not therefore be named 



26 RELIGIO MEDICI 

The term the cfFccts of fortune but in a relative way, 
used in a and as we term the works of nature. It 
seri?e^^ was the ignorance of man's reason that begat 
this very name, and by a careless term 
miscalled the providence of God: for thsie 
A 3^^s no Hbpvfy for nansf^.jo ^ Oper ate in a loose 
/v4^ /^^nd" straggling-jway ; nor any effect whatso- 
{i;^*^' ever but hath its warran_t_frdni~some OTYi^^ersal 

or superior cause. 'Tis not a ridiculous 
devotion to say a prayer before a game at 
tables ; for even in sortilegies and matters 
of greatest uncertainty, there is a settled 
and preordered course of effects. Tis^j&^ 
that ;^re blind, not fortune. Because our 
eye is too dim to discover the mystery of her 
effects, we foolishly paint her blind, and 
hoodwink the providence of the Almighty. 
I cannot justify that contemptible proverb, 
that fools only are fortunate ; or that insolent 
paradox, that a wise man is out of the reach of 
fortune ; much less those opprobrious epithets 
of poets, whore, bawd, and strumpet. 'Tis, I 
confess, the common fate of men of singular 
gifts of mind, to be destitute of those of 
fortune ; which doth not any way deject the 
spirit of wiser judgments, who throughly 
understand the justice of this proceeding; 
and, being enriched with higher donatives, 
cast a more careless eye on these vulgar parts 
of felicity. 'Tis a most unjust ambition to 
desire to engross the mercies of the Almighty, 
nor to be content with the goods of mind, 
without a possession of those of body or for- 
tune : and it is an error, worse than heresy, to 
adore these complimental and circumstantial 



RELIGIO MEDICI 27 

pieces of felicity, and undervalue those per- 
fections and essential points of happiness 
wherein we resemble our Maker. To wiser 
desires it is satisfaction enough to deserve, 
though no t to enjoy, th e„£^yx)urs,.of fortune. 
LeT providence provide for fools : 'tis not 
partiality, but equity, in God, who deals with 
us but as our natural parents. Those that 
are able of body and mind he leaves to their 
deserts ; to those of weaker merit he imparts 
a larger portion ; and pieces out the defect of 
one by the excess of the other. Thus have 
we no just quarrel with nature for leaving 
us naked ; or to envy the horns, hoofs, skins, 
and furs of other creatures ; being provided 
with reason, that can supply them all. We 
need not labour, with so many arguments, 
to confute judicial astrology; for, if there 
be a truth therein, it doth not injure divinity. 
If to be born under Mercury disposeth us , 
to be witty ; under Jupiter to be wealthy ; 
I do not owe a knee unto these, but unto 
that merciful hand that hath ordered my 
indifferent and uncertain nativity unto such 
benevolous aspects. Those that hold that 
all things were governed by fortune, had 
not erred, had they not persisted there. 
The Romans, that erected a temple to For- 
tune, acknowledged therein, though in a 
blinder way, somewhat of divinity; for, in 
a wise supputation, all things begin and end 
in the Almighty. There is a nearer way inad, via. 
to heaven than Homer's chain ; an easy ^^• 
logick may conjoin heaven and earth in one 
argument, and, with less than a sorites. 



28 RELIGIO MEDICI 

resolve all things into God. For though we 
christen effects by their most sensible and 
nearest causes, yet i s God the true and 
Jr^fallihlf^ ^ilUfff^ of all: whosc concoursc, 
though it be general, yet doth it subdivide 
itself into the particular actions of every 
thing, and is that spirit, by which each 
singular essence not only subsists, but per- 
forms its operation. 
Danger of XIX. The bad construction and perverse 
the^F?rst^"^ Comment on these pair of second causes, or 
with Second visible hands of God, have perverted the 
devotion of many untQ _-atheism ; who, for- 
getti ng .. t h e honest ad visoes of fa ith7_Kav^ 
jisteofid^ unto t he conspiracy of passion and 
reason. I have therefore alwaysencTea- 
^mured to compose those feuds and angry 
dissentions between affection, faith, and 
reason : for there is in our soul a kind of 
^ triumvirate, or triple government of three 
competitors, which distract the peace of this 
jour commonwealth not less than did that 
other the state of Rome. 
Passion, As rcason is a rebel unto faith, so passion 

Faith!"' "^^^ reason. As the propositions of faith 
seem absurd unto reason, so the theorems of 
; reason unto passion, and both unto reason ; 
yet a moderate and peaceable discretion may 
so state and order the matter, that they may 
be all kings, and yet make but one monarchy : 
every one exercising his sovereignty and 
prerogative in a due time and place, accord- 
ing to the restraint and limit of circumstance. 
There is, as in philosophy, so in divinity, 
sturdy doubts, and boisterous objections. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 29 

wherewith the unhappiness of our know- 
ledge too nearly acquainteth us. More of^ 
these no man hath known than myself; 
wJiicE I confess I conquerecr,"nbt~m'~a""mar- 
twl posture, but on ray knees. For our 
endeavours are noT^bnly To combat with 
doubts, but always to dispute with the devil. 
The villainy of that spirit takes a hint of 
infidelity from our studies ; and, by demon- 
strating a naturality in one way, makes 
us mistrust a miracle in another. Thus, 
having perused the Archidoxis, and read 
the secret sympathies of things, he would 
dissuade my belief from the miracle of the 
Brazen Serpent ; make me conceit that image Numb, 
worked by sympathy, and was but an Egyp- ^**- 9- 
tian trick to cure their diseases without a 
miracle. Again, having seen some experi- 
ments of bitumen, and having read far more 
of naphtha, he whispered to my curiosity 
the fire of the altar might be natural, and 
bid me mistrust a miracle in Elias, when i Kings xviii. 
he intrenched the altar round with water; 
for that inflammable substance yields not 
easily unto water, but flames in the arms 
of its antagonist. And thus would he in- 
veigle my belief to think the combustion 
of Sodom might be natural, and that there Gen. xix. 24, 
was an asphaltick and bituminous nature in 
that lake before the fire of Gomorrah. I 
know that manna is now plentifully gathered 
in Calabria; and Josephus tells me, in his Antig.jud. 
days 'twas as plentiful in Arabia. The "'" ^' ^ ^^ 
devil therefore made the query. Where was 
then the miracle in the days of Moses ? The Ex. xvi. 



M 



30 RELIGIO MEDICI 

Israelites saw but that, in his time, the 
natives of those countries behold in ours. 
Thus the devil played at chess with me, and, 
yielding a pawn, thought to gain a queen of 
me ; taking advantage of my honest endea- 
vours; and, whilst I laboured to raise^the 
^.struct ureof my reason, he striv ed to un4er- 
^ minejffieledifi of my faith. 
Atheism can XX. Neither had these or any other ever 
ar y exist. 5^,]^ advantage of me, as to incline me to 
any point of infidelity or desperate positions 
of atheism ; for I have been these juany 
years of opinion there was never any. V^Those 
that held religion was the difference of man 
from beasts have spoken probably, and pro- 
ceed upon a principle as inductive as the 
other. That doctrine of Epicurus, that denied 
the providence of God, was no atheism, but 
a magnificent and high-strained conceit of 
his majesty, which he deemed too sublime 
to mind the trivial actions of those inferior 
creatures. That fatal necessity of the Stoicks 
is nothing but the immutable law of his will. 
Those that heretofore denied the divinity of 
the Holy Ghost have been condemned but 
as hereticks; and those that now deny our 
Saviour (though more than hereticks) are not 
so much as atheists : for though they deny 
two persons in the TrinjU^, they hold, as we 
do, there is but one God. y 

That villain and secretary of hell that 
composed that miscreant piece Of the TJwee 
Imposters, though divided from all religions, 
and was neither Jew, Turk, nor Christian, 
was not a positive atheist. I confess every 



RELIGIO MEDICI 31 

country hatli its Machiavel, every age its 
Lucian, whereof common heads must not 
hear, nor more advanced judgments too 
rashly venture on. 'Tis the rhetorick of 
Satan; and may pervert a loose or prejudi- 
cate belief. 

XXI. I confess I have perused them all, inconslst. 
and can discover nothing that may startle a uS& 
discreet belief; yet are there heads carried 
off with the wind and breath of such 
motives. I remember a Doctor in Physick, 
of Italy, who could not perfectly believe 
the immortality of the soul, because Galen 
seemed to make a doubt thereof. With 
another I was familiarly acquainted, in France, 
a divine, and a man of singular parts, that on 
the same point was so plunged and gravelled 
with three lines of Seneca,^ that all our 
antidotes, drawn from both Scripture and 
philosophy, could not expel the poison of his 
error. There are a set of heads that can 
credit the relations of mariners, yet question 
the testimonies of Saint Paul : and peremp- 
torily maintain the traditions of ^lian or 
Pliny; yet in histories of Scripture raise 
queries and objections : believing no more 
than they can parallel in human authors. ^ I 
confess ihf^^f" «£ e in Scrip ture stories-tbat- do — 
ejtgee d th e £ al)le__of^oets^and, to a captious 
reader, sound like Garagantua or Bevis. 
Search all the legends of times past, and the .|, 

1 An toti morimur, nullaque pars manet a i r, iN» ^ 

Nostri? —7 r^ . JN I 

Post mortem nihil est, ipsaque mors nihil ... li <) ^ ' '^ 

Mors individua est noxia corpori, *^ 
Nee parcens animce. (Troad, 379, etc.) 



32 RELIGIO MEDICI 

fabulous conceits of these present^ and 'twill 
be hard to find one that deserves to carry 
the buckler unto Sampson; yet is all this o f 
an easy possibility, if we_iiQn£eiyeadiyine 
co pggurse, or ^^JnHuengeJLmt-JJzoijaJj^^ 

Many ques- finder oQE ^ Almighty ^- It is impossible that, 

JaisecS^*" either in the discourse of man or in the 

worthy of infallible voice of God, to the weakness of 
^°^' our apprehensions there should not appear 
irregularities, contradictions, and antinomies : 
myself could show a catalogue of doubts, 
never yet imagined nor questioned, as I know, 
which are not resolved at the first hearing; 
not fantastick queries or objections of air; for 
I cannot hear of atoms in divinity. I can 

Gen. vlii. 8. read the history of the pigeon that was sent 
out of the ark, and returned no more, yet not 
question how she found out her mate that 

St. John xi. was left behind : that Lazarus was raised from 
the dead, yet not demand where, in the in- 
terim, his soul awaited ; or raise a law-case, 
whether his heir might lawfully detain his 
inheritance bequeathed unto him by his 
death ; and he, though restored to life, have 
no plea or title unto his former possessions. 

Gen. ii. 21. Whether Eve was framed out of the left side 
of Adam, I dispute not; because I stand not 
yet assured which is the right side of a man ; 
or whether there be any such distinction in 
nature. That she was edified out of the rib 
of Adam, I believe ; yet raise no question who 
shall arise with that rib at the resurrection. 
Whether Adam was an hermaphrodite, as the 
Rabbins contend upon the letter of the text ; 

Gen. i. 27. bccausc it is contrary to reason there should 



RELIGIO MEDICI 33 

be an hermaphrodite, before there was a 
woman, or a composition of two natures, be- 
fore there was a second composed. Likewise, 
whether the world was created in autumn, 
summer, or the spring ; because it was created 
in them all : for, whatsoever sign the sun 
possesseth, those four seasons are actually 
existent. It is the nature of this luminary 
to distinguish the several seasons of the year ; 
all which it makes at one time in the whole 
earth, and successive in any part thereof. 
There aje a bundle of curiosities, not only m 
4)liilosophy but in divinity, proposed _and di§r 
fussed by men oj^ most supposed aMlities, 
cwhlch indeed aine^o t worthy our j^acanthfiLurs, 
much less our serious studies ; pieces only fit 
to be placed in Pantagruel's library, or bound 
up with Tartaretus, De Modo Cacandi. 

XXII. These are niceties that become not others, which 
those that peruse so serious a mystery. There rafsed.^may 
are others more generally questioned, and be easily 
called to the bar, yet methinks, of an easy 
and possible truth. 

'Tis ridiculous to put off or drown the 
general flood of Noah in that particular inun- 
dation of Deucalion. That there was a deluge 
once seems not to me so great a miracle as 
that there is not one always. How all the 
kinds of creatures, not only in their own 
bulks, but with a competency of food and Gen. vi. 14, 
sustenance, might be preserved in one ark, ^^^' 
and within the extent of three hundred cubits, 
to a reason that rightly examines it, will 
appear very feasible. There is another secret, 
not contained in the Scripture, which is more 
c 



34 RELIGIO MEDICI 

hard to comprehend,, and put the honest 
Father to the refuge of a miracle ; and that is, 
not only how the distinct pieces of the world, 
and divided islands, should be first planted 
by men, but inhabited by tigers, panthers, 
and bears. How America abounded with 
beasts of prey and noxious animals, yet con- 
tained not in it that necessary creature, a 
horse, is very strange. By what passage 
those, not only birds, but dangerous and un- 
welcome beasts, came over. How there be 
creatures there, which are not found in this 
triple continent. All which must needs be 
strange unto us, that hold but one ark ; and 
that the creatures began their progress from 
the mountains of Ararat. They who, to salve 
this, would make the deluge particular, pro- 
ceed upon a principle that I can no way 
grant; not only upon the negative of Holy 
Scriptures, but of mine own reason, whereby 
I can make it probable that the world was as 
well peopled in the time of Noah as in ours ; 
and fifteen hundred years, to people the 
world, as full a time for them as four thou- 
sand years since have been to us. 

There are other assertions and common 
tenents drawn from Scripture, and generally 
believed as Scripture, whereunto, notwith- 
standing, I^[ouldjrieyer_bet^^ liberty of 
Gen. V. my reason^ TTisa postulate to ~me, that 
25-27. Methusalem was the longest lived of all the 
children of Adam : and no man will be able 
to prove it, when, from the process of the 
text, I can manifest it may be otherwise. 
That Judas perished by hanging himself. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 35 

there is no certainty in Scripture : though^ St. Matt. 
in one place, it seems to affirm it, and by a 
doubtful word hath given occasion to translate 
it ; yet, in another place, in a more punctual Acts i. 18. 
description, it makes it improbable, and seems 
to overthrow it. That our fathers, after the 
flood, erected the tower of Babel, to preserve 
themselves against a second deluge, is gener- 
ally opinioned and believed; yet is there 
another intention of theirs expressed in Scrip- 
ture. Besides, it is improbable, from the 
circumstance of the place ; that is, a plain Gen. xi. 4. 
in the land of Shinar. These are no poin^ ^ 
"^\.J^!il]li-^^^ fV.f^v^fr>r^ nfigy ^d^nit SL fr ee J 
JKspute. There are yet others, and those-"^ 
familiarly concluded from the text, wherein 
(under favour) I see no consequence. The 
Church of Rome confidently proves the 
opinion of tutelary angels, from that answer, 
when Peter knocked at the door, '2u not he, Actsxii. 15, 
but his angel; that is, might some say, his 
messenger, or somebody from him ; for so the 
original signifies ; and is as likely to be the 
doubtful family's meaning. This exposition 
I once suggested to a young divine that an- 
swered upon this point ; to which I remember 
the Franciscan opponent replied no more, 
but. That it was a new, and no authcjiiick 
interpretation. 

XXIII. These are but the conclusions and T^^'^K 
fallible discourses of man upon the word of books."^ 
God ; fo r such I do hel i<"v<^ tlip Holy Scrip- 
tures; fyetf were it of man,il coul d not 
choose but say, it was the singularest and 
supei^^^ive piece that hath been extant since 



36 RELIGIO MEDICI 

the creation. Were I a pagan^ I should 
not refrain the lecture of it; and cannot 
but commend the judgment of Ptolemy, 
that thought not his library complete with- 
out it. The Alcoran of the Turks (I speak 
without prejudice) is an ill-composed piece, 
containing in it vain and ridiculous errors 
in philosophy, impossibilities, fictions, and 
vanities beyond laughter, maintained by 
evident and open sophisms, the policy of 
ignorance, deposition of universities, and 
banishment of learning, that hath gotten 
foot by arms and violence : this, without a 
blow, hath disseminated itself through the 
whole earth. It is not unremarkable what 
Phjlo first ob&eryed, tha t th e law^ojL-Moses 
continued two th ousand years without the 
Tfeast altei'alion ; whereas, we see, the laws of 
o'ther commonweals do alter with occasions : 
and even those that pretended their original 
from some divinity, to have vanished with- 
out trace or memory. I believe, besides 
roaster there were divers that writ before 
oseS\; who, notwithstanding, have suffered 
^common fate of time. Men's works 
ave an age, like themselves ; and though 
they outlive their authors, yet have they a 
stint and period to their duration. This 
only is a work too hard for the teeth of 
time, and cannot perish but in the general 
flames, when all things shall confess their ashes. 
'Of making XXIV. I have heard some with deep sighs 
thereVno lament the lost lines of Cicero; others with 
end'(Eccl. as many groans deplore the combust' -^ of 
the library of Alexandria : foi my ov^mw >rt. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 37 

I think there be too many in the world; 
and could with patience behold the urn 
and ashes of the Vatican, could I, with a 
few others, recover the perished leaves of 
Solomon. I would not omit a copy of i Kings iv. 
Enoch's Pillars, had they many nearer ^^' ^^" 
authors than Josephws, or did not relish Antig.jud. 
somewhat of the fable. Some men have *' ^' ^ ^' 
written more than others have spoken. 
Pineda quotes more authors, in one work,^ 
than are necessary in a whole world. Of 
those three great inventions ^ in Germany, 
there are two which are not without their 
incommodities, and 'tis disputable whether 
they exceed not their use and commodities. 
'Tis not a melancholy utinam of mine own, 
but the desires of better heads, that there 
were a general synod: not to unite the ^ 
incompatible difference of religion, but for 
the benefit of learning ; to reduce it, as it 
lay at first, in a few and soTid auLiiurs7~an3~-~ — - 
to condemn to the fire those swarms and 
millions of rhapsodies, begotten only to dis- Ij 
tract and abuse the weaker judgments of n 
scholars, and to maintain the trade and |* 
mystery of typographers. 

XXV. I cannot but wonder with what Obstinacy of 
exceptions the Samaritans could confine their ^ ^^'^' 
belief to the Pentateuch, or five books of 
Moses. I am ashamed at the rabbinical 
interpretation of the Jews upon the Old 
Testament, as much as their defection from 

1 Pineda, in his Monarchia Ecclesiastica, quotes one 
thousand and forty authors. 

2 Guns, printing, and the mariner's compass. 



38 RELIGIO MEDICI 

the New. And truly it is beyond wonder 
how that contemptible and degenerate issue 
of Jacob, once so devoted to ethnick super- 
stition, and so easily seduced to the idolatry 
of their neighbours^ should now, in such 
an obstinate and peremptory belief, adhere 
unto their own doctrine, expect impossi- 
bilities, and, in the fac« and eye of the 
church, persist without the least hope of 
conversion. This is a yice-in-theni_that were 
a virtue in us : for obstinacy in a bad cause, 
is but constancy in a good" And herein [ 
and want of must accusc thosc of my own religion; for 
among"^^ there is not any of such a fugitive faith, such 
Christians, an unstable belief, as a Christian ; none that 
do so oft transform themselves, not unto 
several shapes of Christianity and of the same 
species, but unto more unnatural and contrary 
forms of Jew and Mahometan ; that from the 
name of Saviour can condescend to the bare 
term of prophet : and from an old belief that 
he is come fall to a new expectation of his 
coming. It is the promise ^ of Christ to majf^ 
St. John _u£^_all one, flock : but how and when this 
^^. ^- ^^' union shall be, is as obscure to me as the 

TasT^ay: Of*Th*oseTo^ur^meml5efs~oF religion 
'we hold a slender proportion. There are, I 
confess, some new additions ; yet small to 
those which accrue to our adversaries ; and 
those only drawn from the revolt of pagans ; 
men but of negative impieties ; and such as 
deny Christ, but because they never heard 
of him. But the religion of the Jew is 
expressl y a gainst the Christian, and the 
Mahometan against both. For the Turk, in 



RELIGIO MEDICI 89 

the bulk he now stands, he is beyond all 
hope of conversion; if he fall asunder there 
may be conceived hopes ; but not without 
strong improbabilities. The Jew is obstinate 
in all fortunes; the persecution of fifteen 
hundred years hath but confirmed them in 
tlieif error. They have already endured what- 
soever may be inflicted : and have suffered, 
in a bad cause, even to the condemnation of 
their enemies. Persecution is a bad and .in- 
direct way to plant religion. It hath been 
the unhappy method of angry devotions, not 
only to confirm honest religion, but wicked 
heresies and extravagant opinions. It was The blood 
the first stone and basis of our faith ; none Martyrs the 
can more justly boast of persecutions, and seed of the 
glory in the number and valour of martyrs ; 
for, to speak properly, those are true and 
almost only examples of fortitude ; those that 
are fetched from the field, or drawn from the 
actions of the camp, are not oft-times so 
truly precedents of valour as audacity, and, 
at the best, attain but to some bastard piece 
of fortitude. If we shall strictly examine 
the circumstances and requisites which Aris- 
totle requires to true and perfect valour, we Eth. Nicom. 
shall find the name only in his master, i"- ^"9- 
Alexander, and as little in that Roman worthy, 
Julius Caesar; and if any, in that easy and 
active way, have done so nobly as to deserve 
that name, yet, in the passive and more 
terrible piece, these have surpassed, and in 
a more heroical way may claim the honour 
of that title. 'Tis not in the power of every 
honest faith to proceed thus far, or pass to 



40 RELIGIO MEDICI 

heaven through the flames. Every one hath 
it not in that full measure^ nor in so audacious 
and resolute a temper, as to endure those 
terrible tests and trials; who, notwithstand- 
ing, in a peaceable way do truly adore their 
Saviour, and have (no doubt) a faith accept- 
able in the eye of God. 
Not all are XXVI. Now, as all that die in war are not 
suffer in ^ ° termed soldiers, so neither can I properly term 
ReHgion°^ all those that suffer in matters of religion, 
. martyrs. The council of Constance condemns 
John Huss for an heretick ; the stories of his 
own party style him a martyr. He must 
needs offend the divinity of both, that says 
he was neither the one nor the other. There 
are many (questionless) canonized on earth, 
that shall never be saints in heaven; and 
have their names in histories and martyro- 
logies, who in the eyes of God are not so 
perfect martyrs as was that wise heathen 
, Socrates, that suffered on a fundamental point 
of religion, the unity of God. I have often 
pitied the miserable bishop ^ that suffered in 
the cause of antipodes, yet cannot choose 
but accuse him of as much madness for ex- 
posing his living on such a trifle, as those of 
ignorance and folly, that condemned him. 
I think my conscience will not give me the 
lie, if I say there are not many extant, that, 
in a noble way, fear the face of death less 
than myself; yet from the moral duty I owe 
to the commandment of God, and the natural 
respects that I tender unto the conservation 
of my essence and being, I would not perish 
1 Virgilius. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 41 

upon a ceremony, politick points, or indifFer- 
ency : nor is my belief of that untractable 
temper as not to bow at their obstacles, or 
connive at matters wherein there are not 
manifest impieties. The leaver r,„thergfore, 
and ferment of all, not only-civil bi^t religipi^ , . . i «. ^. 
acfibns, is wisdom >-4sffliout which, to com- 
mit ourselves fdhe flames isTiomicide, and 
(I fear) but to pass through one fire into 
another. 

XXVII. That miracles are ceased, I can of Miracles. 
neither prove nor absolutely deny, much less 
define the time and period of their cessation. 
That they survived Christ is manifest upon 
record of Scripture : that they outlived the Acts xvi. 18. 
apostles also, and were revived at the con- 
version of nations, many years after, we can- 
not deny, if we shall not question those writers 
whose testimonies we do not controvert in 
points that make for our own opinions : there- 
fore, that may have some truth in it, that is 
reported by the Jesuits of their miracles in 
the Indies. I could wish it were true, or had 
any other testimony than their own pens. 
They may easily believe those miracles abroad, 
who jdaily conceive a greater at home, 
the tranffliutation of ^ose visible elements 
into th£ body_an(3 bloo7r^7~our Saviour ; for 
the conversion of water'ihto wine, wTiich he St. John ii. 
wrought in Cana, or what the devil would 
have had him done in the wilderness, of 
stones into bread, compared to this, will St. Matt. 
scarce deserve the name of a miracle : though, ^^* ^' 
indeed, to speak properly, there is not one All Miracles 
rmracle greaterUian another^ they being the tj'cod'.^^^ 



42 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



2 Esdras 
iv. 5. 



extraordinary effect of the hand of God, to 
which all things are of an equal facility; and 
£0 create the world as easy as one single 
i J creature. For this is also a miracle ; not only 

'yyw/vJuy^lA,/^ tq^ produce effects against or above nature, 
\ 1 1 but before nature ; ,and to create nature, as. 
l| great_a^ miracle as to c ontradict or transcen d 
Uner. We do too narrowly define the power 
oT God, restraining it to our capacities. ^ 
hold that God can do all things : how he 
should work contradictions, I do not under- 
stand, yet dare not, therefore, deny. I cannot 
see why the angel of God should question 
Esdras to recall the time past, if it were 
beyond his own power ; or that God should 
pose mortality in that which he was not able 
to perform himself. I will not say that God 
cannot, but he will not, perform many things, 
which we plainly affirm he cannot. This, 
I am sure, is the mannerliest proposition ; 
wherein, notwithstanding, I hold no paradox : 
for, strictly, his power is the same with his 
will ; and they both, with all the rest, do 
make but one God. 

XXVIII. Therefore, that miracles have 
been, I do believe ; that they may yet be 
wrought by the living, I do not deny : but 
have no confidence in those which are 
fathered on the dead. And this hath ever 
made me suspect the efficacy of reliques, to 
examine the bones, question the habits and 
appurtenances of saints, and even of Christ 
himself. I cannot conceive why the cross 
that Helena found, and whereon Christ him- 
self died, should have power to restore others 



All relations 
of Miracles 
not to be 
received 
alike. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 43 

unto life. I excuse not Constantine from a 

fall off his horse, or a mischief from his 

enemies, upon the wearing those nails on his 

bridle which our Saviour bore upon the cross 

in his hands. I compute among your pice 

fraiides, nor many degrees before consecrated 

swords and roses, that which Baldwyn, King 

of Jerusalem, returned the Genovese for their 

costs and pains in his war ; to wit, the ashes 

of John the Baptist. Those that hold the 

sanctity of their souls doth leave behind a 

tincture and sacred faculty on their bodies, 

speak naturally of miracles, and do not salve ^ 

the doubt. Now, one reason jMteDdet.so '^ ^x,^^^f^^^ 

little devotion unto reliques is, I think, the -V* <<aaO» 

slender and doubtful respect I have always 

held unto antiquities ; for that, indeed, which 

I admire^3,_J&^JkrL-bjefba-e_jmtiquity ; that is^ 

EteFmty ; and that is, G od him self; who, 
tTTough he be styled th.e~3jitient of Da7/s, can-'^an. vii. 
not receive the adjunct of antiquity, who was p^- 
before the world, and shall be after it, yet) 
is not older than it : for, in his years there is/ 
no climacter : his duration is eternity ; and' 
far more venerable than antiquity. ^-^ 

XXIX. But, above all things, I wonder how Oracles. 
the curiosity of wiser heads could pass that 
great and indisputable miracle, thej^gasatisjn^ 
oracles ; and in what swoon their reasons lay, 
to content themselves, and sit down with such 
a far-fetched and ridiculous reason as Plutarch Be Orac. 
alledgeth for it. The Jews, that can believe ^€/^^^«- 
the supernatural solstice of the sun in the 
days of Joshua, have yet the impudence to josh. x. 13. 
deny the eclipse, which every pagan confessed. 



lib. 36. 



44 RELIGIO MEDICI 

at his death ; but for this, it is evident beyond 

all contradiction : the devil himself confessed 

it.^ Certainly it is not a warrantable curiosity 

to examine^'the verity of Scrljpturef bj^I J^ 

concordance of human history; or §££k,,Jp 

confirm the chronicle of Hester or Daniel by 

the authority of Megasthenes or Herodotus. 

r confess, T have had an unhappy curiosity this 

way, till I laughed myself out of it with a piece 

jvsT. H/si. of Justin, where he delivers that the children 

of Israel, for being scabbed, were banished out 

of ^Egypt. And truly, since I have under- 

, I stood the occurrences of the world, and know 

': ! in what counterfeit shapes and deceitful vizards 

[{times present represent on the stage things 

*'past, I do believe them little more than things 

to come. Some have been of my opinion, 

and endeavoured to write the history of their 

own lives ; wherein Moses hath outgone them 

Deut. xxxiv. all, and left not only the story of his life, but, 

as some will have it, of his death also. 

Witchcraft. XXX. It is a riddle to me, how this story of 

oracles hath not wormed out of the world that 

doubtful conceit of spirits and witches; how 

so many learned heads should so far forget 

their metaphysicks, and destroy the ladder 

I , and scale of creatures, as to question the 

aiJl¥>™'^ existence of spirits; for my part, I have ever 

' believed, and do now know, that there are 

y witches. They that doubt of these do not 

only deny them, but spirits; and are obliquely, 

and upon consequence, a sort, not of infidels, 

but atheists. Those that, to confute their 

incredulity, desire to see apparitions, shall, 

^ In his Oracle to Augustus. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 46 

questionless, never behold any, nor have the 
power to be so much as witches. The devil 
hath made them already in a heresy as capital 
as witchcraft ; and to appear to them were 
but to convert them. Of all the delusions 
wherewith he deceives mortality, there is not 
any that puzzleth me more than the leger- 
demain of changelings. I do not credit those 
transformations of reasonable creatures into 
beasts, or that a devil hath a power to tran- 
speciate a man into a horse, who tempted 
Christ (as a trial of his divinity) to convert but St. Matt, 
stones into bread. I could believe that spirits *^* ^' 
use with man the act of carnality ; and that in 
both sexes. I conceive they may assume, 
steal, or contrive a body wherein there may be 
action enough to content decrepit lust, or 
passion to satisfy more active veneries ; yet, 
in both, without a possibility of generation : 
and therefore that opinion that Antichrist 
should be born of the tribe of Dan, by con- 
junction with the devil is ridiculous, anda 
• gpriceit fitter for a rabbin thaii a^hrislian.. I 
hold that the devil doth really possess some 
men ; the spirit of melancholy others ; the 
spirit of delusion others : that, as the devil is 
concealed and denied by some, so God and 
good angels are pretended by others, whereof 
the late defection of the maid of Germany ^ ' 
hath left a pregnant example. 

XXXI. Again, I believe that all that use Philosophy 
sorceries, incantations, and spells^ are not fromMa'gick. 
witches, or, as we term them, magicians. I 
conceive there is a traditional magick^ not 

1 That lived, without meat, on the smell of a rose. 



46 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



The sugges- 
tions of 
Angels. 



The Spirit 
of God 
diffused 
throughout 
the World. 



learned immediately from the devil^ but at 
second hand from his scholars, who, having 
once the secret betrayed, are able and do 
empirically practise without his advice ; they 
both proceeding upon the principles of nature, 
where actives, aptly conjoined to disposed 
passives, will, under any master, produce 
their effects. Thus, I think, at first, a great 
part of philosophy was witchcraft; which, 
being afterward derived to one another, 
proved but philosophy, and was indeed no 
more than the honest effects of nature : what 
invented by us, is philosophy ; learned from 
him^ is magick. We do surely owe the 
discovery of many secrets to the discovery of 
good and bad angels. I could neverjiasg. that 
sentence of Paracelsus without an asterisk^ or 
annotation .-i Ascendeiis constellatum mulia revclat 
qucerentihus magnalia naturce, i.e. opera Dei. I 
do think that many mysteries ascribed to 
our own inventions have been the courteous 
revelations of spirits ; for those noble essences 
in heaven bear a friendly regard unto their 
fellow-natures on earth ; and therefore believe 
that those many prodigies and ominous pro- 
gnosticks, which forerun the ruin of states, 
princes, and private persons, are the charitable 
premonitions of good angels, which more 
careless inquiries term but the effects of 
chance and nature. 

XXXII. Now, besides these particular and 
divided spirits, there may be (for ought I 
know) an universal and common spirit to the 

1 Thereby is meant our good angel, appointed us from 
our nativity. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 4/ 

whole world. It was the opinion of Plato. 
and it is yet of the Hermetical philosophers. 
If there be a common^nature that unites and 
ties the scattered and divided individuals into 
one species, why may there not be one that 
unites them all ? However, I am sure there , 
is a common spirit that plays within us, yet I 
makes no part of us ; and that is, the Spirit of jj \ .^ 

God ; the fire and scintillation of that noble 
and mighty essence, which is the life and 
radical heat of spirits, and those essences that 
know not the virtue of the sun ; a fire quite 
contrary to the fire of hell. This is that 
gentle heat that brooded on the waters, and Gen. 
in six days hatched the world ; this is that 
irradiation that dispels the mists of hell, the 
clouds of horror, fear, sorrow, despair; and 
preserves the region of the mind in serenity. 
Whosoever feels not the warm gale and gentle 
ventilation of this spirit (though I feel his 
pulse) I dare not say he lives ; for truly with- 
out this, to me, there is no heat under the 
tropick ; nor any light, though I dwelt in 
the body of the sun. 

As when the labouring sun hath wrought his track 

Up to the top of lofty Cancer's back, 

The icy ocean cracks, the frozen pole 

Thaws with the heat of the celestial coal ; 

So when thy absent beams begin t' impart 

Again a solstice on my frozen heart. 

My winter 's o'er, my drooping spirits sing. 

And every part revives into a spring. 

But if thy quickening beams a while decline. 

And with their light bless not this orb of mine, 

A chilly frost surpriseth every member. 

And in the midst of June I feel December. 



'4« RELIGIO MEDICI 

Oh how this earthly temper doth debase 
The noble soul, in this her humble place ! 
Whose wingy nature ever doth aspire 
To reach that place whence first it took its fire. 
These flames I feel, which in my heart do dwell. 
Are not thy beams, but take their fire from hell. 
Oh quench them all ! and let thy Light divine 
Be as the sun to this poor orb of mine ! 
And to thy sacred Spirit convert those fires. 
Whose earthly fumes choke my devout aspires ! 

Of guardian XXXIII. Therefore, for spirits, I am so far 
ant Spirits, from denying their existence, that I could 
easily believe, that not only whole countries, 
but particular persons, have their tutelary and 
guardian angels. It is not a new opinion of 
the Church of Rome, but an old one of 
Pythagoras and Plato : there is no heresy in 
it : and if not manifestly defined in Scripture, 
yet is it an opinion of a good and wholesome 
use in the course and actions of a man's life, 
and would serve as an hypothesis to salve 
many doubts whereof common philosophy 
afFordeth no solution. Now, if you demand 
my opinion and metaphysicks of their natures, 
I confess them very shallow; most of them 
in a negative way, like that of God ; or in a 
comparative, between ourselves and fellow- 
creatures ; for there is in this universe a stair, 
or manifest scale of creatures, rising not 
'^tj^i disorderly, or in confusion, but with a comely 
method and proportion. Between creatures 
of mere existence and things of life there is a 
large disproportion of nature: between plants 
and animals, or creatures of sense, a wider 
difference: between them and man, a far 



RELIGIO MEDICI 49 

greater : and if the proportion hold on, be- 
tween man and angels there should be yet 
a greater. We do not comprehend their 
natures who retain the first defljution of 
Porphyry,! and distinguish them frdm our- 
selves by immortality; for before his^ fall, 
man also was immortal : yet must we needs 
affirm that he had a different essence frbm 
the angels. Having, therefore, no certain / 
knowledge of their natures, 'tis no bad 
method of the schools, whatsoever perfection' 
we find obscurely in ourselves, in a more \ 

complete and absolute way to ascribe unto \ 

them. I believe they have an extemporary 
knowledge, and, upon the first motion of 
their reason, do what we cannot without 
study or deliberation : that they know things 
by their forms, and define, by specifical dif- 
ference, what we describe by accidents and 
properties : and therefore probabilities to us 
may be demonstrations unto them : that they 
have knowledge not only of the specifical, 
but numerical forms of individuals, and under- • 
stand by what reserved difference each single 
hypostasis (besides the relation to its species) 
becomes its numerical self. That, as the soul 
hath a power to move the body it informs, 
so there's a faculty to move any, though 
inform none : ours upon restraint of time, 
place, and distance : but that invisible hand 
that conveyed Habakkuk to the lion's den, or Bel and the 
Philip to Azotus, infringeth this rule, and Jj JJHj 3^^^ 
hath a secret conveyance wherewith mortality 
is not acquainted. If they have that intuitive 
1 Essentice rationalis immortcUis. 
D 



XV. lO. 




50 4lEI;iG^0 ifEDICI 

knowledge>^ Avh^i-^hy, as in reflection, they 
behold the tl^oughts of one another, I cannot 
peremptorily deny but they know a great 
part of ours. They that, to refute the invo- 
cation of saints, have denied that they have 
atny knowledge of our affairs below, have 
proceeded too far, and must pardon my 
opinion, till I can thoroughly answer that 
St. Luke piece of Scripture, At the conversion of a sinner, 
tile angels hi heaven rejoice. I cannot, with 
those in that great father, securely interpret 
the work of the first day, Jiat lux, to the 
creation of angels ; though I confess there is 
not any creature that hath so near a glimpse 
of their nature, as light in the sun and 
elements : we style it a bare accident, but, 
where it subsists alone, 'tis a spiritual 
substance, and may be an angel : in brief, 
conceive light invisible, and that is a spirit. 
Man a XXXIV. These are certainly the magisterial 

partLking"i'f and mastcrpieccs of the Creator; the flower, 
the nature of or (as wc may say) the best part of nothino; ; 

all created ^ -^ ^ {, ^ li.- i, 

essences. actually cxistmg, what we are but ui hopes, 
and probability. We are only that amphi- 

bious piece, between a corporal ana" H" 

spii'ituat essence; that middle form that 
linlis35pl.?r3^^^^S£i^i?ZA^^ ^makes good 
tlie" method of God and nature, tha t jumps 
iiot,--^^^Qffi'— -^-^*^^"™^^j !2^t J:mit!?s.„the_ incom- 
patible distances'^y some middle and par- 
ticip^tilTg" natures. That we are the breath 
and simllifucte' of God, it is indisputable, and 

Gen. i. 27 ; upon record of Holy Scripture : but to call 
ourselves a microcosm, or little world, I 
thought it only a pleasant trope of rhetorick. 



< 



11. 7. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 51 

till my near judgment and second thoughts 
told me there was a real truth therein. For^ 
first we are a rude mass, and in the rank of 
creatures which only are, and have a dull 
kmH" ori5eing^jii)t yel:^,p^^^ with life or 

'preferred to sense or reason ; next we live 
the life of plants^ the life of animals, the life 
of men, and at last the life of spirits : running 
on, iii one mysterious nature, those five 
kinds of existences, which comprehend the 
creatures, not only of the world, but of the 
universe. Thus is man that great and true 
ampliihium, whose nature is disposed to live, 
not only like other creatures in divers ) 
elements, but in divided and distinguished 
worlds ; for though there be but one to sense 
there are two to reason ; the one visible, the 
other invisible, whereof Moses seems to have 
left description, and of the other so obscurely, 
that some parts thereof are yet in controversy. 
And truly, for the first chapters of Genesis, I 
must confess a good deal of obscurity; though 
divines have, to the power of human reason, 
endeavoured to make all go in a literal mean- 
ing, yet those allegorical interpretations are 
also probable, and perhaps the mystical 
method of Moses bred up in the hieroglyphical 
schools of the Egyptians. 

XXXV. Now for that immaterial world, Of Creation. 
methinks we need not wander so far as the 
first moveable;^ for, even in this material 
fabrick, the spirits walk as freely exempt from 
the affection of time, place, and motion, as 
beyond the extremest circumference. Do but 
' Primum mobile. 



52 RELIGIO MEDICI 

extract from the corpulency of bodies, or re- 

solre things beyond their first matter, and 

you discover the habitation of angels ; which 

if I call the ubiquitary and omnipresent 

essence of God, I hope I shall not offend 

divinity : for, before the creation of the world, 

God was really all things. For the angels he 

created no new world, or determinate man- 

St. Matt. sion, and therefore they are everywhere where 

xviii. lo. jg j^jg essence, and do live, at a distance even, 

in himself. That God made all things for 

man, is in some sense true ; yet, not so far as 

to subordinate the creation of those purer 

creatures unto ours ; though, as ministenng 

Heb. i. 14. spirits, they do, and are willing to fulfil the 

will of God in these lower and sublunary 

Jr ^ affairs of man. God made all things for him- 

J^ ffn self; and it is impossible he should make 

. ^ - • t hem for any other end than his own glo ry : 

i/'' \y iTTs aline^can_receive^and ail that is witfioTitr* 

^ ^ himseTf; for, honour being an external -i3-^ 

^ junct, and in the honourer rather than in the 

person honoured, it was necessary to make a 

creature from whom he might receive this 

homage : and that is, in the other world, 

angels, in this, man ; which when we neg lect, 

we fo^et the very_e nd of our ^rpaf inn^ and 

may justly provote God, not only to repent 

Gen. vi. 6; tl^^t lie hath made the world, but that he 

ix. 9-17. hath sworn he wou4d not destroy it. That 

there is but one world is a conclusion of faith ; 

Aristotle with all his philosophy hath not 

been able to prove it : and as weakly that the 

world was eternal ; that dispute much troubled 

the pen of the antient philosophers, but Moses 



RELIGIO MEDICI 53 

decided that question, and all is salved with 
the new term of a creation, that is, a produc- 
tion of something out of nothing. And what 
is that? Whatsoever is opposite to some- \ 
thing; or, more exactly, that which is truly /- 
contrary unto God : for he only i s ; all others / 
have an existence with dependency, and are / 
something but by a distinction. And herein V. 
is divinity conformant unto philosophy, and f 
generation not only founded on contrarieties, \ 
but also creation. God, being all things, is \ 
contrary unto nothing, out of which were \ 
made all things, and so nothing became some- / 
thing, and omneity informed nullity into an 
essence. / 

XXXVI. The whole creation is a mystery, Man the 
and particularly that of man. At the blast of ^f cSio" 
His mouth were the rest of the creatures Gen. i. 20-25. 
made ; and at His bare word they started out 
of nothing : but in the frame of man (as the 
text describes it) He played the sensible Gen. H. 7. 
operator, and seemed not so much to create 
as make him. When He had separated the 
materials of other creatures there consequently 
resulted a form and soul ; but, having raised 
the walls of man, He was driven to a second 
and harder creation, of a substance like Him- 
self, an incorruptible and immortal soul. For 
these two affections we have the philosophy 
and opinion of the heathens, the flat affirma- 
tive of Plato, and not a negative from Aristotle. 
There is another scruple cast in by divinity 
(concerning its production) much disputed in 
the German auditories, and with that indiffer- 
ency and equality of arguments, as leave the 



54 RELIGIO MEDICI 

controversy undetermined. I am not of 
opera, torn. Paracclsus' mind, that boldly delivers a receipt 
EdrFrancof. ^o make a man without conjunction; yet can- 
not but wonder at the multitude of heads 
that do deny traduction, having no other 
argument to confirm their belief than that 
rhetorical sentence and antimetathesis of 
Augustine, Creando infunditur, infundendo 
creatur. Either opinion will consist well 
enough with religion : yet I should rather 
incline to this, did not one objection haunt 
me, not wrung from speculations and subtleties, 
but from common sense and observation ; not 
picked from the leaves of any author, but 
bred amongst the weeds and tares of my own 
brain. And this is a conclusion from the 
equivocal and monstrous productions in the 
copulation of man with beast : for if the soul 
of man be not transmitted and transfused in 
the seed of the parents, why are not those 
productions merely beasts, but have also an 
impression and tincture of reason in as high a 
measure, as it can evidence itself in those 
improper organs ? Nor, truly, can I peremp- 
torily deny that the soul, in this her sublunary 
estate, is wholly, and in all acceptions, in- 
organical : but that, for the performance of 
her ordinary actions, is required not only a 
symmetry and proper disposition of organs, 
but a crasis and temper correspondent to its 
operations ; yet is not this mass of flesh and 
visible structure the instrument and proper 
corps of the soul, but rather of sense, and that 
the hand of reason. In our study of anatomy 
there is a mass of mysterious philosophy, and 



■^-'X 



RELIGIO MEDICI 55 

such as reduced the very heathens to divinity ; 
yet amongst all those rare discoveries and 
curious pieces I find in the fabrick of man, I 
do not so much content myself, as in that I 
find not ; that is, no organ or instrument for 
the rational soul ; T6r~in the brain, which we 
term the seat of reason, there is not anything 
of moment more than I can discover in the 
crany of a beast : and tliis is a sensible and 
lib inconsiderable argument of the inorganity q 
^oTTEe^oul, at least in that sense we usually o 

so receive it. Thus we are men, and we know 
not how ; there is something in us that can 
be without us, and will be after us, though it 
is strange that it hath no history what it was 
before us, nor cannot tell how it entered in 
us. ^"^ 

XXXVII. Now, for these walls of flesh, Of the perish- 
wherein the soul doth seem to be immured ^ ^ ° y- 
before the resurrection, it is nothing but an 
elemental composition, and a fabrick that must 
fall to ashes. All flesh is grass, is not only isa. xl. 6. 
metaphorically, but literally, true ; for all 
those creatures we belWtdT are"But"the herbs * 
of the field, digested into flesh in them, or 
more remotely carnified in ourselves. Nay, 
further, we are what we all abhor, a7ithropo- 
phagi, and cannibals, devourers not only of 
men, but of ourselves ; and that not in an alle- 
gory but a positive truth ; for all this mass of 
flesh which we behold came in at our mouths ; 
this fra me we look upon, hatb h^f^m upon onr 
drenchers ; in brief, we have devoured our- 
selves. I cannot believe the wisdom oi 
Pythagoras did ever positively, and in a literal 



56 RELIGIO MEDICI 

sense, affirm his metempsychosis, or impossible 
transmigration of the souls of men into beasts. 
Of all metamorphoses or transmigrations^ I 
believe only one, that is, of Lot's wife ; for 
Gen. xix. 26. that of Nebuchodonosor proceeded not so far. 
an. IV. 33. j^^ ^j^ others I conceive there is no further 
verity than is contained in their implicit sense 
and morality. I believe that the whole frame 
of a beast doth perish, and is left in the same 
state after death as before it was materialled 
unto life ; that the souls of men know neither 
contrary nor corruption ; that they subsist 
beyond the body, and outlive death by the 
privilege of their proper natui-es, and without 
a miracle ; that the souls of the faithful, as 
they leave earth, take possession of heaven ; 
that those apparitions and ghosts of departed 
persons are not the wandering souls of men, 
but the unquiet walks of devils, prompting 
and suggesting us unto mischief, blood, and 
villainy, instilling and stealing into our 
hearts ; that the blessed spirits are not at rest 
in their graves, but wander, solicitous of the 
affairs of the world. That those phantasms 
appear often, and do frequent cemeteries, 
charnel-houses, and churches, it is because 
those are the dormitories of the dead, where 
the devil, like kn insolent champion, beholds 
with pride the spoils and trophies of his 
victory in Adam. 
Death hath XXXVIII. This is that dismal conquest we 
a Chr?s°tkn°'' ^^^ dcplorc, that makes us so often cry, Adam, 
2 Esdras quid focisti ? I thank God I have not those 
^"* ^ ' strait ligaments, or narrow obligations to the 

world, as to dote on life, or be convulsed and 



RELIGIO MEDICI 57 

tremble at the name of death. Not that I am 
insensible of the dread or horror thereof; or, 
by raking into the bowels of the deceased, 
continual sight of anatomies, skeletons, or 
cadaverous reliques, like vespilloes, or grave- 
makers, I am become stupid, or have forgot 
the apprehension of mortality ; but that 
marshalling all the horrors, and contemplating 
the extremities thereof, I find not anything 
therein able to daunt the courage of a man, 
much less a well resolved Christian ; and 
therefore am not angry at the error of our first 
parents, or unwilling to bear a part of this 
common fate, and like the best of them to 
die ; that is, to cease to breathe, to take a 
farewell of the elements ; to be a kind of 
nothing for a moment ; to be within one 
instant of a spirit. When I take a full view 
and circle of myself without this reasonable 
moderator and equal piece of justice, Death, 
I do conceive myself the miserablest person 
extant. Were there not anot her life that I 
hop e for, all the vanities '}] ^^'^ wr^vln cKr>i^[^j 
n ot entreat a moment's breath from me. 
Could the clevil work my beliet' to imagine j" 
could never die, I would not outlive that very 
thought. I have so abject a conceit of this 
common way of existence, this retaining to 
the sun and elements, I cannot think this is 
to be a man, or to live according to the 
dignity of humanity. In expectation o f a \ 
he.tter. T ran with patience^ ^wJ^^^^ ^ ^^^^ \^> 1 
yet, in my best meditations, do often defy 
death. I honour any man that contemns it ; 
nor can I highly love any that is afraid of it : 



58 RELIGIO MEDICI 

this makes me naturally love a soldier, and 
honour those tattered and contemptible 
regiments that will die at the command of a 
sergeant. For a Pagan there may be some 
motives to be in love with life : but for a 
Christian to be amazed at death, I see not 
how he can escape this dilemma, that he is 
--^ too sensible of this life, or hopeless of the life 
to come. 
Man has XXXIX. Somc divincs count Adam thirty 

atrs^tatefof J^ars old at his creation, because they suppose 
existence. him Created in the perfect age and stature of 
man. And surely we are all out of the com- 
putation of our age, and every man is some 
months elder than he bethinks him ; for we 
live, move, have a being, and are subject to 
the actions of the elements, and the malice of 
diseases, in that other world, the truest 
microcosm, the womb of our mother. For 
besides that general and common existence 
we are conceived to hold in our chaos, and 
whilst we sleep within the bosom of our 
causes, we enjoy a being and life in three 
distinct worlds, wherein we receive most 
manifest graduations. In that obscure world 
and womb _^of our mother, our time is short, 
computed by the moon ; yet longer than the 
days of many creatures that behold the sun ; 
ourselves being not yet without life, sense, 
and reason; though, for the manifestation of 
its actions, it awaits the opportunity of objects, 
and seems to live there but in its root and 
soul of vegetation. Entering afterwards upon 
the scene of the world, we arise up and become 
another creature ; performing the reasonable 



RELIGIO MEDICI 69 

actions of man, and obscurely manifesting that 
p^rt of divinity in us, but not in complement 
and perfection, till we have once more cast 
our secondine, that is, this slough of flesh, and 
are delivered into the last world, that is, that 
ineffable place of Paul, that proper w^pfsjDirijtg. 2 Cor. xii. 4. 
The smattering I have of the philosophers* 
stone (which is something more than the 
perfect exaltation of gold) hath taught me a 
great deal of divinity, and instructed my 
belief, how that immortal spirit and incorrup- 
tible substance of my soul may lie obscure, 
and sleep a while within this house of flesh. 
Those strange and mystical transmigrations 
that I have observed in silkworms turned my 
philosophy into divinity. There is in these 
works of nature, which seem to puzzle reason, ^^ 
something divine ; and hath more in it than 
the eye of a common spectator doth discover. 

XL. ^ I am naturally ba^hfiil ; nor hath con- Death to be 
versation, age, or"'traveI been able to effront ^J'heTlha^n 
or enharden me ; yet I have one part of feared. 
modesty, which I have seldom discovered in 
another, that is (to speak truly), I am not so 
much afraid of death as ashamed. thereof j J^tis • 
the very disgrace and ignominy of our natures, 
that in a moment can so disfigure us, that our 
nearest friends, wife, and children, stand afraid, 
and start at us. The birds and beasts of the 
field, that before, in a natural fear, obeyed us, 
forgetting all allegiance, begin to prey upon 
us. This very conceit hath, in a tempest, 
disposed and left me willing to be swallowed 
up in the abyss of waters, wherein I had 
perished unseen, unpitied, without wondering 



60 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



Virgil, 
^H. ii. 274. 



Posthumous 
fame not to 
be desired. 



Phars. 
vii. 819. 



eyes, tears of pity, lectures of mortality, and 
none had said. 

Quantum mutatus ah illo ! 

Not that I am ashamed of the anatomy of my 
parts, or can accuse nature for playing the 
bungler in any part of me, or my own vitious 
life for contracting any shameful disease upon 
me, whereby I might not call myself as whole- 
some a morsel for the worms as any. 

XLI. Some, upon the courage of a fruitful 
issue, wherein, as in the truest chronicle, they 
seem to outlive themselves, can with greater 
patience away with death. This conceit and 
counterfeit subsisting in our progenies seems 
to me a mere fallacy, unworthy the desires of 
a man, that can but conceive a thought of the 
next world : who, in a nobler ambition, should 
desire to live in his substance in heaven, 
rather than his name and shadow in the earth. 
And therefore, at my death, I mean to take a 
total adieu of the world, not caring for a 
monument, history or epitaph : not so much as 
the bare memory of my name to be found 
anywhere, but in the universal register of 
God. I am not yet so cynical, as to approve 
the testament of Diogenes,^ nor do I 
altogether allow that rodomontado of Lucan ; 

Coelo tegitur, qui non habet urnam ; 

He that uuburied lies wants not his hearse ; 
For unto him a tomb 's the universe : 

but commend, in my calmer judgment, those 

1 Who willed his friend not to bury him, but to hang 
him up with a staff in his hand to fright awaj' the crows. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 61 

ingenuous intentions that desire to sleep by 
the urns of their fathers, and strive to go the 
neatest way unto corruption. I do not envy 
the temper of crows and daws, nor the 
numerous and weary days of our fathers before 
the flood. If there be any truth in astrology, 
I may outlive a jubilee ; as yet I have not 
seen one revolution of Saturn,^ nor hath my 
pulse beat thirty years, and yet, excepting one, 
have seen the ashes and left under ground, 
all the kings of Europe; have been con- 
temporary to three emperors, four grand 
signiors, and as many popes : ^ methinks I 
have outlived myself, and begin to be weary 
of the sun'; I have shaked hands with delight 
in my warm blood and canicular days ; I 
perceive I do anticipate the vices of age ; the 
world to i ne is but a dream or mock-sh ow, anil 
we all therein but pantaloons and anticks,_ to 
my severerconte mplat ions. 

XLIlTTt is not, I confess, an unlawful Length of 
prayer to desire to surpass the days of our be p^rayed° 
Saviour, or wish to outlive that age wherein for, 
he thought fittest to die ; yet, if (as divinity 
affirms) there shall be no grey hairs in heaven, 
but all shall rise in the perfect state of men, 
we do but outlive those perfections in this 
world, to be recalled unto them by a greater 
miracle in the next, and run on here but to 
be retrograde hereafter. Were there any 

1 The planet Saturn maketh his revolution once in thirty- 
years. 

2 Rodolph II., Matthias, and Ferdinand ii., emperors 
of Germany; Achmet i., Mustapha i., Othman ii., and 
Amurathiv., grand signiors ; Leoxi., Paul v., Gregory xv., 
and Urban viii., popes. 



02 RELIGIO MEDICI 

hopes to outlive vice, or a point to be super- 
annuated from sin, it were worthy our knees 
for age doth to implorc the days of Methuselah. But age 
ourvices^^ doth not rectify, but incurvate our natures, 
turning bad dispositions into worser habits, 
and (like diseases) brings on incurable vices ; 
for every day, as we grow weaker in age, we 
grow stronger in sin, and the number of our 
days doth but make our sins innumerable. 
The same vice committed at sixteen, is not 
the same, though it agree in all other cir- 
cumstances, at forty; but swells and doubles 
from the circumstance of our ages, wherein, 
besides the constant and inexcusable habit of 
transgressing, the maturity of our judgment 
cuts off pretence unto excuse or pardon. 
Every sin, the oftener it is committed, the 
more it acquireth in the quality of evil ; as it 
succeeds in time, so it proceeds in degrees of 
badness ; for as they proceed they ever mul- 
tiply, and, like figures in arithmetick, the 
last stands for more than all that went before 
it. And, though I think no man can live well 
once, but he that could live twice, yet, for 
my own part, I would not live over my hours 
past, or begin again the thread of my days ; 
not upon Cicero's ground, because I have lived 
them well, but for fear I should live them 
worse. I find my growing judgment daily 
instruct me how to be better, but my untamed 
affections and confirmed vitiosity makes me 
daily do worse. I find in my confirmed age 
the same sins I discovered in my youth ; I 
committed many then because I was a child ; 
and, because I commit them still, I am yet 



RELIGIO MEDICI ^5 

an infant. Therefore I perceive a mailogue 

be twice a child, before the days of dota^ 

and stand in need of ^son's bath before three- ^^icero, 

score. ^ ■ '<^- Q»^s^- 

XLIII. And truly there goes a great deal a specie 
of providence to produce a man's life unto prS^Wes*^^ 
threescore ; there is more required than an °^^ ^'^®s. 
able temper for those years ; though the 
radical humour contain in it sufficient oil for 
seventy, yet I perceive in some it gives no 
light past thirty : men assign not all the 
causes of long life, that write whole books 
thereof. They that found themselves on the 
radical balsam, or vital sulphur of the parts, 
determine not why Abel lived not so long as 
Adam. There is therefore a secret glome or 
bottom of our days : 'twas his wisdom to de- 
termine them : but his perpetual and waking 
providence that fulfils and accomplisheth 
them ; wherein the spirits, ourselves, and all 
the creatures of God in a secret and disputed 
way, do execute his will. Let them not there- 
fore complain of immaturity that die about 
thirty : they fall but like the whole world, 
whose solid and well-composed substance 
must not expect the duration and period of 
its constitution : when all things are com- 
pleted in it, its age is accomplished ; and the 
last and general fever may as naturally de- 
stroy it before six thousand, as me before 
forty. There is therefore some other hand 
that twTnes' the thread oFlife tHairitfiat of 
nature^; we are not only ignorant in anti- 
pathies and occult qualities ; our^ends, aifi^as 
obscure as our beginni ngs ; "^the line of our 



62 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



hopes 'is drawn by night, and the various 

anPicts therein by a pencil that is invisible ; 

butlncreSe ^^^^^I'^ii^:* though we confcss our ignorance, 

our vices. I am sure we do not err if we say, it is the 

hand of God. 

XLIV. I am much taken with two verses 
of Lucan, since I have been able not only, 
as we do at school, to construe, but under- 
stand — 

Phars. Victurosque Dei celant ut vivere durent, 

IV. 519. Felioj esse mori. 

We 're all deluded, vainly searching ways 
To make us happy by the length of days ; 
For cunningly, to make 's protract this breath, 
The gods conceal the happiness of death. 



Though 
death is to 
be desired, 
yet suicide 
IS unlawful. 



There be many excellent strains in that poet, 
wherewith his Stoical genius hath liberally 
supplied him : and truly there are singular 
pieces in the philosophy of Zeno, and doctrine 
of the Stoicks, which I perceive, delivered in 
a pulpit, pass for current divinity ; yet herein 
are they in extremes, that can allow a man 
to be his own assassin, and so highly extol 
the end and suicide of Cato. This is indeed 
not to fear death, but yet to be afraid of life. 
It is a brave act of valour to contemn death ; 
but, where life is more terrible_than death, it 
j g^ theiTtlie truest valour to^are toIiveT^aiid 
herein religion — hattr'taifgHt us a noble 
example ; for all the valiant acts of Curtius, 
Scaevola, orCflxlj'us, do not parallel, or match, 
that one o(fjob^ and sure there is no torture 
to the rack oT a disease, nor any poniards in 



RELIGIO MEDICI 65 

death itself, like those in the way or prologue 
unto it. 

Emori nolo, sed me esse mortuum nihil euro ; Cicero, 

Tusc. Qucest. 

I would not die, but care not to be dead. i. 8. 

Were I of Caesar's religion, I should be of his 
desires, and wish rather to go off at one blow, 
than to be sawed in pieces by the grating 
torture of a disease. Men that look no fur- 
ther than their outsides, think health an 
appertenance unto life, and quarrel with their 
constitutions for being sick ; but I, that have 
examined the parts of man, and know upon 
what tender filaments that fabrick hangs, do 
wonder that we are not always so ; and, con- 
sidering the thousand doors that lead to death, 
do thank my God that we can die but once. 
'Tis not only the mischief of diseases, and the 
villainy of poisons that make an end of us ; 
we vainly accuse the fury of guns, and the 
new inventions of death ; it is in the power 
of every hand to destroy us, and we are be- 
holding unto every one we meet he doth. not 
kill us. There is therefore but one comfort 
left, that though it be in the power of the 
weakest arm to take away life, it is not in 
the strongest to deprive us of death. God 
would not exempt himself from that ; the 
misery of immortality in the flesh he under- 
took not, that was in it immortal. Certainly 
there is no happiness withi n this, r irrlff p^ 
flesh ; nor is it in the opticks of these eyes to 
behold felicity. The first day of our jubilee 
is death; the devil hath therefore failed of 
his desire ; we are happier with death than 
E 



66 RELIGIO MEDICI 

we should have been without it : there is no 
misery but in himself where there is no end 
of misery; and so indeed, in his own sense, 
the Stoick is in the right. He forgets that he 
can die, who complains of misery : we are in 
the power of no calamity while death is in our 
own. 
^^t?th?^ h ^LV. Now, besides this literal and positive 
which we kind of death, there are others whereof 
Fmino°tality. ^ivines make mention, and those, I think, 
not merely metaphorical, as mortification, 
dying unto sin and the world. Therefore, I 
say, every man hath a double horoscope ; one 
of his humanity, his birth ; another of his 
Christianity, his baptism : and from this do I 
compute or calculate my nativity ; not reckon- 
ing those horce comhustce} and odd days, or 
esteeming myself any thing, before I was my 
Saviour's, and inroUed in the register of Christ. 
Whosoever enjoys not this life, I count him 
but an apparition, though he wear about him 
the sensible affections of flesh. In these 
moral acceptions, the way to be immortal is 
to die daily ; nor can I think I have the true 
theory of death, when I contemplate a skull 
or behold a skeleton with those vulgar ima- 
ginations it casts upon us. I have therefore 
enlarged that common memento mori into a 
more Christian memorandum, memento quatuoi 
novissima, those four inevitable points of us all. 
Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. Neither 
did the contemplations of the heathens rest 
in their graves, without a further thought of 

1 That time when the moon is in conjimction, and 
obscured by the sun, the astrologers call horce combustce. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 07 

Rhadamanth or some judicial proceeding after 
death, though in another way, and upon sug- 
gestion of their natural reasons. I cannot but 
marvel from what sibyl or oracle they stole 
the prophecy of the world's destruction by 
fire, or whence Lucan learned to say. 

Communis mundo superest rogus, ossihus astra Phars. 
Misturus '^'' ^''^• 

Tliere yet remains to tli' world one common fire. 
Wherein our bones with stars shall make one pyre. 

I believe the^ world grows near its end ; yet is 
neither old nor decayed, nor will ever perish 
upon the ruins of its own principles. As the 
work of creation was above nature, so is its 
adversary, annih ijg.ti9" * without which the 
world hath not its end, but its mutation. 
Now, what force should be able to consume 
it thus far, without the breath of God, which 
is the truest consuming flame, my philosophy 
cannot inform me. Some believe there went 
not a minute to the world's creation, nor shall 
there go to its destruction ; those six days, so 
punctually described, make not to them one 
moment, but rather seem to manifest the 
method and idea of the great work of the 
intellect of God than the manner how he 
proceeded in its operation. I cannot dream 
that there should be at the last day any such 
judicial proceeding, or calling to the bar, as 
indeed the Scripture seems to imply, and the 
literal commentators do conceive : for un- 
speakable mysteries in the Scriptures are 
often delivered in a vulgar and illustrative 
way, and, being written unto man, are 






68 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



The end of 
the world. 



St. Matt. 
xxiv. 36. 



St._ Matt. 
xxiv. 6. 



St. Luke 

xxi. 25. 

I Thess. V. 2, 



delivered, not as they truly are, but as they 

\ may be understood ; wherein, notwithstand- 

ying, the different interpretations according 

\ to different capacities may stand firm with 

I our devotion, nor be any way prejudicial to 

I each single edification. 

XLVI. Now, to determine the day and year 
of this inevitable time, is not only convincible 
and statute madness, but also manifest impiety. 
How shall we interpret Elias' six thousand 
years, or imagine the secret communicated to 
a Rabbi which God hath denied unto his 
angels ? It had been an excellent qucere to 
have posed the Devil of Delphos ^ and must 
needs have forced him to some strange am- 
phibology. It hath not only mocked the 
predictions of sundry astrologers in ages past, 
but the prophecies of many melancholy heads 
in these present ; who, neither understanding 
reasonably things past or present, pretend a 
knowledge of things to come ; heads ordained 
only to manifest the incredible effects of 
melancholy, and to fulfil old prophecies,^ 
rather than be the authors of new. Li those 
days there shall come wars and rumours of wars 
to me seems no prophecy, but a constant 
truth in all times verified since it was 
pronounced. There shall be signs in the moon 
and stars ; how comes he then like a thief in 
the night, when he gives an item of his coming.** 
That common sign, drawn from the revelation 
of antichrist, is as obscure as any ; in our 
common compute he hath been come these 

1 The oracle of Apollo. 

2 In those days there shall come liars and false prophets. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 69 

many years ; but, for my own part, to speak 
freely, I am half of opinion that aptjchristis 
the philosopher's stone in divinity, for the 
discovery and invention M^hereof, though there 
be prescribed rules, and probable inductions, 
yet hath hardly any man attained the perfect 
discovery thereof. That general opinion, that 
the world grows near its end, hath possessed 
all ages past as nearly as ours. I am afraid 
that the souls that now depart cannot escape 
that lingering expostulation of the saints 
under the altar, quoiisque, Domine ? How long, Rev. vi. 9, 
O Lord ? and groan in the expectation of the ^°' 
great jubilee. 

XLVII. This is the day that must make The Day of 
good that great attribute of God, his justice ; J''^^'^"'- 
that must reconcile those unanswerable doubts 
that torment the wisest understandings ; and 
reduce those seeming inequalities and re- 
spective distributions in this world, to an 
equality and recompensive justice in the 
next. This is that one day, that shall include 
and comprehend all that went before it; 
wherein, as in the last scene, all the actors 
must enter, to complete and make up the 
catastrophe of this great piece. This is the 
"clay wnSse memory hath only power to make 
us honest in the dark, and to be virtuous 
without a witness. 

Ipsa sui pretium virtus sibi, Claudian, 

Be Maim 

* that virtue is her own reward,' is but a cold ^^["f-^"^' 
principle, and not able to maintain our variable 
resolutions in a constant and settled way of 
goodness. I have practised that honest 



70 RELIGIO MEDICI 

Epist. i. II. artifice of Seneca, and^ in my retired and 
solitary imaginations to detain me from the 
foulness of vice, have fancied to myself the 
presence of my dear and worthiest friends, 
before whom I should lose my head rather 
than be vitious ; yet herein I found that there 
was nought but moral honesty ; and this was 
not to be virtuous for his sake who must 
reward us at the last. I have tried if I could 
reach that great resolution of his, to be honest 
without a thought of heaven or hell ; and, 
indeed I found, upon a natural inclination, 
and inbred loyalty unto virtue, that I could 
serve her without a livery, yet not in that 
resolved and venerable way, but that the 
frailty of my nature, upon an easy tempta- 
tion, might be induced to forget her. Thfi^ 
S4 life, therefore, and spirit of all our actions 
Ts^he resurrection, and a stable apprehension 
that our aslies shall enjoy the fruit of our 
pious endeavours ; without this, all religion is 
a fallacy, and those impieties of Lucian, 
Euripides, and Julian, are no blasphemies, 
but subtile verities ; and atheists have been 
the only philosophers. 

iCor. XV. 3^. XLVIII. How shall the dead arise? is no 



ecHoSrEie question of my faith ; to believe only possi- 
iead: \^ bilities is not faith, iTut mere pTiltosophy. " 
I Many^ things are true in divinity, which are 
neither inducible by reason nor confirmable 
by sense ; and many things in philosophy 
confirmable by sense, yet not inducible by 
reason. Thus it is impossible, by any solid 
or demonstrative reasons, to persuade a man 
to believe the conversion of the needle to 



RELIGIO MEDICI 71 

the north ; though this be possible and true, 

and easily credible, upon a single experiment 

unto the sense. I believe that our estranged 

and divided ashes shall unite again ; that our 

separated dust, after so many pilgrimages and 

transformations into the parts of minerals, 

plants, animals, elements, shall, at the voice 

of God, return into their primitive shapes, 

and join again to make up their primary and 

predestinate forms. As at the creation there 

was a separation of that confused mass into 

its species; so at the destruction thereof 

there shall be a separation into its distinct 

individuals. As, at the creation of the world, 

all the distinct species that we behold lay 

involved in one mass, till the fruitful voice of 

God separated this united multitude into its 

several species, so, at the last day, when those 

corrupted reliques shall be scattered in the 

wilderness of forms, and seem to have forgot 

their proper habits, God, by a powerful voice, 

shall command them back into their proper 

shapes, and call them out by their single 

individuals. Then shall appear the fertility 

of Adam, and the magick of that sperm that 

hath dilated into so many millions. I have Types of the 

often beheld, as a miracle, that artificial t^oT''^''" 

resurrection and revivification of mercury, 

how being mortified into a thousand shapes, 

it assumes again its own, and returns into 

its numerical self. Let us speak naturally, 

and like philosophers ; the forms of alterable 

bodies in these sensible corruptions perish 

not; nor, as we imagine, wholly quit their 

mansions ; but retire and contract themselves 



72 RELIGIO MEDICI 

into their secret and unaccessible parts; where 
they may best protect themselves from the 
action of their antagonist. A plant or vege- 
table consumed to ashes, to a contemplative 
and school-philosopher seems utterly destroyed, 
and the form to have taken his leave for ever; 
but to a sensible artist the forms are not 
perished, but withdrawn into their incombus- 
tible part, where they lie secure from the 
action . of that devouring element. This is 
made good by experience, which can froni^ 
the ashes of a plant revive the plant, and from f 
its cinders recall it into its stalk and leaves_J * 
again. What the art of man can do in these 
inferior pieces, what blasphemy is it to affirm 
the finger of God cannot do in these more 
perfect and sensible structures ? This is that 
mystical philosophy, from whence no true 
scholar becomes an atheist, but from the 
visible effects of nature grows up a real 
divine, and beholds not in a dream, as Ezekiel, 
but in an ocular and visible object, the types 
of his resurrection. 
Heaven or XLIX. Now, the ncccssary mansions of our 
be^defined restored sclvcs are those two contrary and 
incompatible places we call Heaven and Hell. 
To define them, or strictly to determine what 
and where these are, surpasseth my divinity. 
That elegant apostle, which seemed to have a 
glimpse of heaven, hath left but a negative 

1 Cor. li. 9. description thereof; which neither eye hath 

seen, nor ear hath heard, nor can enter i?ito the 
heart of man : he was translated out of himself 

2 Cor. xii. 2. to behold it; but, being returned into himself, 

could not express it. Saint John's description 



RELIGIO MEDICI 73 

by emeralds, chrysolites, and precious stones, Rev. xxi. 
is too weak to express the material heaven we ^^'^^' 
behold. Briefly, therefore, w here the soul 
hath th e i^ull rn easure and complement of 
"happiness; where the boundless appetite of « 

Thar spirit remains completely satisfied that it 
can neither desire addition nor alteration; 
that, I think, is truly Heaven : and this can 
onTy'lbiein the enjoyment of that essence, 
whose infinite goodness is able to terminate 
the desires of itself, and the unsatiable wishes 
of ours. Wherever God will thus manifest 
himself, there is heaven, though within the 
circle of this sensible world. Thuj. th e soul 
of man may be in heaven anywhere, even 
within the limits of his own proper body ; and 
when it ceaseth to live in the body it may 
remain in its own soul, that is, its Creator. 
And thus we may say that Saint Paul, whether 2 Cor. xii. 
in the body or out of the body, was yet in ^'^' 
heaven. To place it in the empyreal, or 
beyond the tenth sphere, is to forget the 
world's destruction; for when this sensible 
world shall be destroyed, all shall then be here 
as it is now there, an empyreal heaven, a 
quasi vacuity ; when to ask where heaven is, 
is to demand where the presence of God is, 
or where we have the glory of that happy 
vision. Moses, that was bred up in all the 
learning of the Egyptians, committed a ex. xxxiii. 
gross absurdity in philosophy, when with ^^• 
these eyes of flesh he desired to see God, 
and petitioned his Maker, that is Truth 
itself, to a contradiction. Those that imagine 
heaven and hell neighbours, and conceive a 



74 RELIGIO MEDICI 

vicinity between those two extremes, upon 
consequence of the parable, where Dives 
St. Luke discoursed with Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, 
XVI. 19, e c. ^^ ^^^ grossly conceive of those glorified 
creatures, whose eyes shall easily out-see the 
sun, and behold without a perspective the 
extremest distances ; for if there shall be, in 
our glorified eyes, the faculty of sight and 
reception of objects, I could think the visible 
species there to be in as unlimitable a way as 
now the intellectual. I grant that two bodies 
placed beyond the tenth sphere, or in a 
vacuity, according to Aristotle's philosophy, 
could not behold each other, because there 
wants a body or medium to hand and trans- 
port the visible rays of the object unto the 
sense; but when there shall be a general 
defect of either medium to convey, or light to 
prepare and dispose that medium, and yet a 
perfect vision, we must suspend the rules of 
our philosophy, and make all good by a more 
absolute piece of opticks. 
Of fire as L. I Cannot tell how to say that fire is the 

an agent in esscncc of hcU ; I kuow not w hat to make of 

destruction. • ' n i 

purgatory, or conceive a name that can either 
prey upon, or purify the substance of a soul. 
Rev. xxi. 8. Thosc flames of sulphur, mentioned in the 
Scriptures, I take not to be understood of this 
present hell, but of that to come, where fire 
shall make up the complement of our 
tortures, and have a body or subject wherein 
to manifest its tyranny. Some, who have had 
the honour to be textuary in divinity, are of 
opinion it shall be the same specifical fire 
with ours. This is hard to conceive, yet 



RELIGIO MEDICI 76 

can I make good how even that may prey 
upon our bodies, and yet not consume us : for 
in this material world, there are bodies that 
persist invincible in the powerfulest flames; 
and though, by the action of fire, they fall 
into ignition and liquation, yet will they never 
suffer a destruction. I wouldgladly Vnnw Fvvvvn-.. 

hfvw^ ]V[ngp<;j with an an Vua] fire ^ raloined or 

burnt the Golden _Calf ir>t.o pnwd^r : for that 
mystica l metal of gold, jwhose solary and 
celestial nature I admire, exposed unto the 
^toience of fire, grows^ only hot, and liquefies, 
but Consumeth not ; so when the consumable 
aiid voIatire~pieces of our bodies shall be 
refined into a more impregnable and fixed 
temper, like gold, though they suffer from the 
action of flames, they shall never perish, but 
lie immortal in the arms of fire. And surely, 
if this frame must suffer only by the action of 
this element, there will many bodies escape ; 
and not only heaven, but earth will not be at 
an end, but rather a beginning. Forat^present r ' ^, '. 
it is not earth, but a composition of fire, water, 
earth, and air ; but at that time, spoiled of 
these ingredients, it shall appear in a substance 
more like itself, its ashes. Philosophers that 
opinioned the world's destruction by fire, did 
never dream of annihilation, which is beyond 
the power of sublunary causes ; for the last 
and proper action of that element is but 
vitrification, or a reduction of a body into 
glass ; and therefore some of our chymicks 
facetiously affirm, that, at the last fire, all shall 
be crystallized and reverberated into glass, 
which is the utmost action of that element. 



\76^ RELIGIO MEDICI 

Nor need we fear this term, annihilation, or 
• wonder that God'will destroy the works of his 
. \:M>\ creation: for man subsisting, who is, and will 
then truly appear, a microcosm, the world 
cannot be said to be destroyed. For the 
eyes of God, and perhaps also of our glorified 
selves, shall as really behold and contemplate 
the world, in its epitome or contracted essence, 
as now it doth at large and in its dilated 
substance. In the seed of a plant, to the 
eyes of God, and to the understanding of 
man, there exists, though in an invisible way, 
the perfect leaves, flowers, and fruit thereof; 
for things that are in posse to the sense, ^re 
actually existent to the understanding. Thus 
God beholds all things, who contemplates as 
fully his works in their epitome as in their 
full volume, and beheld as amply the whole 
world, in that little compendium of the sixth 
day as in the scattered and dilated pieces of 
those five before. 
\ The heart of LI- Men commonly set forth the torments 

1 oJJn torment ^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^' ^"^ *^^ extremity of corporal 
" afflictions, and describe hell in the same 
method that Mahomet doth heaven. This 
indeed makes a noise, and drums in popular 
ears : but if this be the terrible piece thereof, 
it is not worthy to stand in diameter with 
heaven, whose happiness consists in that part 
that is best able to comprehend it, that 
immortal essence, that translated divinity and 
colony of God, the soul. Surely, though we 
place hell under earth, the devil's walk and 
purlieu is about it. Men speak too popularly 
who place it in those flaming mountains, which 



RELIGIO MEDICI 77 

to grosser apprehensions represent liell, The 
heart of man is the place the devils dwell in ; 
I feel sometimes a hell within myself ; Lucifer 
keeps his court in my breast ; Legion is 
revived in me. There are as many hells as 
Anaxagoras conceited worlds. There was St. Luke 
more than one hell in Magdalene, when ^'"' ^' 
there were seven devils ; for every devil is an 
hell unto himself; he holds enough of torture 
in his own ubi ; and needs not the misery 
of circumference to afflict him : and thus, a 
distracted conscience here is a shadow or 
introduction unto hell hereafter. Who can 
but pity the merciful intention of those hands 
that do destroy themselves ? The devil, were 
it in his power, would do the like : which 
being impossible, his miseries are endless, and 
he suffers most in that attribute wherein he is 
impassible, his immortality. 

LI I. I thank God, and with joy I mention 
it, I was never afraid of hell, nor never grew 
pale at the description of that place. I have V^"^ 
so fixed my contemplations on heaven, that I Contempla- 
have almost forgot the idea of hell ; and am H°eaven. 
afraid rather to lose the joys of the one, than 
endure the misery of the other : to be deprived 
of them is a perfect hell, and needs methinks 
Iw'MTlttl'dn'TJnn^mptete"' ouFafflictions. That 
terrible term hath never detained me from 
sin, nor do I owe any good action to the name 
thereof. I fear Go d yet am not afraid of 
Jiim J his mercies make me Shamed of my 
sins, before his judgments afraid thereof: 
these are the forced and secondary method of 
his wisdom, which he useth but as the last 



78 RELIGIO MEDICI 

remedy, and upon provocation ; — a course 

\ rather to deter the wicked, than incite the 

\ virtuous to his worship. I can hardly think 

there was ever any scared into heaven : they 

go the fairest way to heaven that would serve 

God without a hell : other mercenaries, that 

crouch unto him in fear of hell, though they 

term themselves the servants, are indeed but 

the slaves of the Almighty. 

Thejudg- LIII. And to be true, and speak my soul, 

mentsofGod , r ^i /> to 

to be re- whcn 1 survcy the occurrences of my life, 
^roofs'^of^ and call into account the finger of God, I can 
affection. perccive notl}lng.Jbut--a» -al^sg- and mass of 
mercies, either in general to mankind, or in 
particular to myself. And, whether out of 
the prejudice of my affection, or an inverting 
and partial conceit of his mercies, I know 
not, but those which others term crosses, 
afflictions, judgments, misfortunes, to me who 
inquire farther into them than their visible 
effects, they both appear, and in event have 
ever proved, the-^ecret-aiid ^jssembJedL favours 
of his affection. It is a singular piece of 
wisdom to apprehend truly, and without 
passion, the Avorks of God, and so well to 
distinguish his justice from his mercy as not 
to miscall those noble attributes ; yet it is 
likewise an honest piece of logick so to 
dispute and argue the proceedings of God 
as to distinguish even his judgments into 
mercies. For God is merciful unto all, 
because better to the worst than the best 
deserve ; and to say he punisheth none in 
this world, though it be a paradox, is no 
absurdity- To one that hath committed 



RELIGIO MEDICI 79 

murther, if the judge should only ordain a 
fine, it were a madness to call this a punish- 
ment, and to repine at the sentence, rather 
than admire the clemency of the judge. 
Thus, our offences being mortal, and deserv- 
ing not only death but damnation, if the 
goodness of God be content to traverse and 
pass them over with a loss, misfortune, or 
disease ; what frenzy were it to term this a 
punishment, rather than an extremity of 
mercy, and to groan under the rod of his 
judgments rather than admire the sceptre of 
his mercies ! Therefore, to adore, honour, 
and admire him, is a debt of gratitude due 
from the obligation of our nature, states, and 
conditions : and with these thoughts he that 
knows them best will not deny that I adore 
him. That I obtain heaven, and the bliss 
thereof, is accidental, and not the intended 
work of my devotion ; it being a felicity I can 
neither think to deserve nor scarce in 
modesty to expect. For these two ends of 
us all, either as rewards or punishments, are 
mercifully ordained and disproportionally dis- 
posed unto our actions ; the one being so 
far beyond our deserts, the other so infinitely 
below our demerits. 

LIV. There is no salvation to those that Salvation 
believe not in Christ ; that is, say some, since cSt alone. 
his nativity, and as divinity affirmeth, before 
also ; which makes me much ^ apprehend the ^oJo/>A\J 
ends of those honest worrhies and philo- 
sophers which died betore his .„ incarnation. 
It is hard to place those souls i n hell, whose 
worthy lives do teach us virtue o n earth. 



80 RELIGIO MEDICI 

Methinks, amongst those many subdivisions 
of hell, there might have been one limbo left 
for these. What a strange vision will it be 
to see their poetical fictions converted into 
verities, and their imagined and fancied 
furies into real devils ! How strange to them 
will sound the history of Adam, when they 
shall suffer for him they never heard of! 
When they who derive their genealogy from 
the gods, shall know they are the unhappy 
issue of sinfu l mKtr! It is ail itaS6lent -part 
♦ of rea sgn,^ to controvert th e works of God, 
or question t^e justL(Le_o£"'Eis "proc^^ings. 
Courd~^umiTIty teach others, as it hath in- 
structed me, to contemplate the infinite and 
incomprehensible distance betwixt the Creator 
and the creature ; or did we seriously perpend 
Rom. ix. 20. that one simile of St. Paul, Shall the vessel say 
to the potter, Why hast thou made me thus ? it 
would prevent these arrogant disputes of 
reason : nor would we argue the definitive 
sentence of God, either to heaven or hell, 
lyien that^live according to the right rule and 




law ofreason^ live but in their own kind, as 



beasts do in theirs; who justly obey the 

(prescript of their natures, and therefore 

S "{(S i<^9^Anot reasonably demand a reward of their 

.f?^ Bctions, as only obeying the natural dictates 

'^ JC ^ th eir reason. It will, therefore, and must, 

^ at lasF'appear, that all salvation is through 

/ Christ ; which verity, I fear, these g reat 

\ examples of virtue musf confirm, and make 

/it good how the perfectest actions of earth 

have no title or claim unto heaven. 

LV. Nor truly do I think the lives of these. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 81 

or of any other, were ever correspondent^ or Our practice 
in all points conformable unto their doctrines. STur^"' 
It is evident that Ainstoile^ transgressed the theory. 
rule of his own ethicks; the Stoicks, that 
condemn passion^ and command a man to 
laugh in Phalaris his bull, could not en- 
dure without a groan a fit of the stone or 
colick. The scepticks that affirmed they 
knew nothing, even in that opinion confute 
themselves, and thought they knew more 
than all the world beside. Diogenes I hold 
to be the most vainglorious man of his time, 
and more ambitious in refusing all honours 
than Alexander in rejecting none. Vice and 
thejlevil^uiL^ar^ftlkey-up mL our reaso ns : and,' 
jncomkin^f-jisu-too^ — hastil^__t o^ run from it, 
^ntflTiffl^^-jmrKprnfmind u s deepe r in jrL_ The 
Duke of Venice, that weds himself unto the 
sea,^ by a ring of gold, I will not argue of 
prodigality, because it is a solemnity of good 
use and consequence in the state : but the 
philosopher that threw his money into the 
sea to avoid avarice, wa& a notorJOlip prndigal. 
There is no road or ready way to virtue; ijL is -.^ 
not an ~^asy point of art to disentangle our- 
selves from this riddle or web of sin. To 
perfect virtue, as to religion, there is required 
a 'panoplia, or complete armour; that whilst 
we lie at close ward against one vice, we lie 
not open to the venny of another. And 
indeed wiser discretions, that have the thread 
of reason to conduct them, offend without a 
pardon; whereas underheads may stumble 
without dishonour. There go so many circum- 
1 Vide Howell's Familiar Letters, Book i. Letter xxxi. 



82 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



I Tim. ii. 



t The Churc i 
! of God notV 



V! 



circum- 
scribed. 



stances to piece up one good action, that it 
is a lesson to be good, and we are forced to 
be virtuous by the book. Again, the practice 
of men holds not an equal pace, yea and 
often runs counter to their theory; we 
naturally know what is good, but naturally 
pursue what is evil : the rhetorick wherewith 
I persuade another cannot persuade myself. 
There is a depraved appetite in us, that will 
with patience hear the learned instructions of 
r eason, but yet per form no farther than agrees 
to its own irregular humour. Jn brief^ w e all 
"are^^monstersl that is, a compositionoTlnan 
and beast : wherein we must endeavour, to be 
as the poets fancy that wise man Chiron ; that 
is, to have the region of man above that of 
beast, and §ense to sit but at the feet of 
reason. Lastly, I do desire with God that all, 
but yet affirm with men that few, shall know 
salvation ; that the bridge is narrow, the pass- 
age strait unto life : yet those who do confine 
the Church of God eitEer"£o particular nations, 
churche*s, or families, have jnade it far narrower 
tKannoiiF SavioliFever^meantJt. 

LVrr^TKe" vulgarity oF those judgments 
that wrap the Church of God in Strabo's 
cloakji and restrain it unto Europe, seem to 
me as bad geographers as Alexander, who 
thought he had conquered all the world, when 
he had not subdued the half of any part 
thereof. For we cannot deny the Church of 
God both in Asia and Africa, if we do not 
forget the peregrinations of the apostles, the 

^ The world as known to Strabo, and compared in shape 
by him to a cloak. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 83 

deaths of the martyrs, the sessions of many 
and (even in our reformed judgment) lawful 
councils, held in those parts in the minority 
and nonage of ours. Nor must a few differ- 
ences^ jnore remarka ble in th^ eV^S of tflUn, 
tha n^ nerhaps. ^" tl^*^ jnrJ|imnr>T^4^ ^f (i Qf^, py- 
communicate fr^ ^pi heav en n^^ another ^ much 
less those Christians who are in a manner all 
martyrs, maintaining their faith in the noble 
way of persecution, and serving God in the 
fire, whereas we honour him but in the sun- 
shine. ' TistruCf we all hold ther ejs^ number A sectarian 

.of ^lect. and many to be saved ; yetTtaEe^r tJcharfty!^'' 

pinions to^etJbLji^, and from the confusion 
thereof there will be no such thing as salva-' 
tion, n or shall any one be sav ed : for, first, the 
ChurcTi ot Kome condemneth us ; we likewise 

' tlieiil ; the "sub-reformists and sectaries sen- (/^j^^^'^ 
tence the doctrine of our Church as damnable ; 

'llie ^ttomist, or familist,i reprobates all these 
and all |j\g ^^JJi£m- again. TYhus, whilst """^ 

concei ts-apd opi nions exclude- u&^^&om 



j^aceJ There must be therefore more than^ 
one^St. Peter; particular churches and sects 
usurp the gates of heaven, and turn the key 
against each other ; and thus we go to heaven 
against each other s wills, conceits, and opin- 
ions, and, with as much uncharity as ignorance, 
do err, I fear, in points not only of our own, 
but one another's salvation. 

LVII. I believe many are saved who to man 'Jidge not. 
seem reprobated, and many are reprobated no^jJ^JS,. 

^ Members of a whimsical sect which sprung up about 
1575. 




84 RELIGIO MEDICI 

who in the opinion and sentence of man stand 
elected. There will appear at the last day 
strange and unexpected examples, both of his 
Justice and his mercy ; and, therefore, to de- 
fine either is folly in man, and insolency even 
in the devils. Those acute and subtile spirits, 
in all their sagacity, can hardly divine who 
shall be saved ; which if they could prognostick, 
their labour were at an end, nor need they 
St. Peter compass the earth, seeking whom they may de- 

' ^' vour. Those who upon a rigid application of 

the law, sentence Solomon unto damnation, 
condemn not only him, but themselves and 
the whole world ; for by the letter and written 
word of God, we are without exception in the 
state of death : but there is a prerogative of 
God, and an arbitrary pleasure above the 
letter of his own law, by which alone we can 
pretend unto salvation, and through which 
Solomon might be as easily saved as those who 
condemn him. 

But few are LVIII. The number of those who pretend 
unto salvation, and those infinite swarms who 
think to pass through the eye of this needle, 
have much amazed me. That name and com - 

st. Luke pA^iiafi-op nf liftlf_^clc d^th ^nt f!or!^fi*rtj ' ?^ ^ 
d^ect, rn^rlgvntinn ; ^pppially when I reflect 
tiporTmnie own unworthiness, wherein, accord- 
ing to my humble apprehensions, J^p^ h^l^^ 
thfijiL-all. I believe there shall never be an 
anarchy in heaven; but, as there are hierar- 
chies amongst the angels, so shall there be 
degrees of priority amongst the saints. Yet 
is it (I protest) beyond my ambition to aspire 
unk) the first ranks ; my desires only are (and 



saved. 



xu. 32. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 85 

I shall be happy therein) to be but the last 
man, and bring up the rear in heaven. 

LIX. Again, I am confident, and fully per- Our confid- 
suaded, yet dare not~taTie my oath, of my Jg^n^Qo^'s'^ 
salvation. I am, as it were, sure, and do mercy, 
believe without all doubt, that there is such a 
city as Constantinople ; yet, for me to take 
my oath thereon were a kind of perjury, be- 
cause I hold no infallible warrant from my 
own sense to confirm me in the certainty 
thereof. And truly, though many pretend an 
absolute certainty of their salvation, yet, 
when an humble soul shall contemplate her 
own unworthiness, she shall meet with many 
doubts, and suddenly find how little we stand 
in need of the precept of St. Paul, Work out Phil. ii. 12. 
1/our salvation 7vith fear and trembling. That 
which is the cause of my election, I hold 
to be the cause of my salvation, which was the 
mercy and beneplacit of God, before I was, or 
the foundation of the world. Before Abraham St. John 
was, I am, is the saying of Christ, yet is it ^"'' ^^' 
true in some sense if I say it of myself ; for I 
was not only before myself but Adam, that is, 
in the idea of God, and the decree of that 
synod held from all eternity. And in this 
sense, I say, the world was before the creation, i 
and at an end before it had a beginning. 
And thus was I dead before I was alive ; 
though my grave be England, my dying place 
was Paradise; and Eve miscarried of me, 
before she conceived of Cain. \ 

LX. Insolent zeals, that do decry good Faith. | 
works and rely only upon faith, take not away 
merit: for, depending upon the efficacy of 



86 RELIGIO MEDICI 

their faith^ they enforce the condition of God, 

and in a more sophistical way do seem to 

cliallena:c heaven. It was decreed by God 

Jndjies that only those that lapt in the water like 

^"" *"'■ dog:s, should have the honour to destroy the 

Midianites; yet could none of those justly 

challenoe, or imagine he deserved, that honour 

therou})t>n. 1 do n ot deny but that true faith, 

and_siiidi_as God requires, is uo\ only a mark 

or token^ but also a nuins. oi our salvation ; 

but, where to find this, is as obscure to me 

St. Matt. as my las t end. And if our Saviour could 

.\vu. 20, •»~;~: — "^ — r 1. • 1 1 <» 

object, unto his own disciples and lavountes, 

a faith that, to the quantity of a grain of 
mustard seed, is able to remove mountains; 
surely that which we boast of is not any- 
thing, or, at the most, but a remove from 
. nothing. 

/ This is the tenour of my belief; wherein, 

I though there be many things singular, and 

J to the humour of my irregular self, yet, if 

S they square not with maturer judgments, I 

^ disclaim them, and tlo no furtlier father them 

^ than the learned and best judgments shall 

^ authorise them. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 87 



THE SECOND PART 

Now for that other virtue of charity^ without Charity 
which faith is a mere notion and of no 
existence, I have ever endeavoured to nourish 
the merciful disposition and humane inclina- 
tion I borrowed from my parents, and regulate 
it to the written and prescribed laws of charity. 
And, if I hold the true anatomy of myself, I 
am delineated and naturally framed to such 
a piece of virtue; f or I a m of a constitution \ 
so gener al that it conso rts and sympalTuzefli ,. 
wi th atrihings j^i irav€> no untipiithy^ orratheiL,* 
j diosvncrasv. in diet , humourj air, anything. . 
T^onder not at theH^rench for their dishes i 
of frogs, snails, and toadstools, nor at the I 
Jews for locusts and grasshoppers ; but, being 1 
amongst them, make them my common / 
viands ; and I find they agree with my 
stomach as well as theirs. I could digest a 
salad gathered in a churchyard as well as in 
a garden. I cannot start at the presence of 
a serpent, scorpion, lizard, or salamander ; at 
the sight of a toad or viper, I find in me no 
desire to take up a stone to destroy them. 
I feel not in myself those common antipathies 
that I can discover in others : those nationals, 
repugnances do not touch me, nor do I ^ 
behold with prejudice the French, Italian, 
Spaniard, or Dutch ; but, where I find their j 

r 



■A 



88 RELIGIO MEDICI 

actions in balance with my countrymen's, I 
honour, love, and embrace them, in the same 
degree. I was born in the eighth climate, 
but seem for to be framed and constellated 
unto all. I am no plant that will not prosper 
out of a garden. All places, all airs, make 
unto me one country ; I am in England every- 
where, and under any meridian. I have been 
shipwracked, yet am not enemy with the sea 
or winds; I can study, play, or sleep in a 
s^ tempest. In brief, I am averse from nothing : 
my conscieiice wnnjri ^jvc; mr thr lir if J 
siiould say I absolutely rlptp<;t. o r hate a ny 
-essence, but the devil; or so at least abhor 
anything, but that we might come to com- 
position. If there be any among those 
common objects of hatred I do contemn and 
laugh at, it is that ^^fnt ^^^^y rv£_vQocr>r> 
virtue, and religion, | the multitude J that 
numerous piece of monstrosiTy, which, taken 
asunder, seem men, and the reasonable 
c reatures of Go d, but, confused together, 
make but one great beS st, aiid a monstrosity 
r^^Ipig2giOus_tIiairTTy dra: ^Tt ts no "breach 
Prov. i. 7, of charity to call tEesel^^Jok ; it is the style 
all holy writers have afforded them, set down 
by Solomon in canonical scripture, and a 
point of our faith to believe so. Neither in 
the name of multitude do I only include the 
base and minor sort of people : there is a 
rabble even amongst the gentry; a sort of 
plebeian heads, atho ae fancy moves wit h the 
same wheel as these : men in the same level 
with mechanicks, though their fortunes^ do 
somewhat gild their infirmities, and their 



22, 32, etc. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 89 

purses compound for their follies. But, as 
in casting account three or four men together 
come short in account of one man placed by 
himself below them, so neither are a troop 
of these ignorant Doradoes of that true esteem 
and value as many a forlorn person, whose 
condition doth place him below their feet. 
Let us speak like politicians ; there_Js_.^_ 
nobility without heraldry, a natural dignity, 
whereby one man is ranked with another, 
another filed before him, according to the 
quality of his desert, and pre-eminence of 
his good parts. Though the corruption of 
these times, and the bias of present practice, 
wheel another way, thus it was in the first 
and primitive commonwealths, and is yet in 
the integrity and cradle of well ordered 
polities : till corruption getteth ground ; ruder 
desires labouring after that which wiser con- 
siderations contemn; every one having a 
l iberty to amass and heap up riches, and 
tliey a licence or faculty to do or pm*chase 
anything. 

II. This general and indifferent temper of Charity must 
mine doth more nearly dispose me to this i^ploper^"" 
noble virtue. It is a happiness to be born n^otive. 
and framed unto virtue, and to grow up from 
the seeds of nature, rather than the inocula-, 
tion and forced graffs of education : yet, if 
we are directed only by our particular n^ nreST 
and regulate our inclin ation s hy no higher 
rule than th at o t our reasons, we are but 
mora lists ; d ivmilv will still call us heathens. 
Therefore this great work ot charity must 
have other motives, ends, and impulsions. I 



90 RELIGIO MEDICI 

give no alms to satisfy the hunger of my 
brother, but to fulfil an d acco mplish the will 
"^Z and command of my God ; I draw^not my 
purse f6r~Ms sake that demands itj_ but His 
that enjoined it ; I relieve no man upon the 
rhetorick of his miseries, nor to content mine 
own commiserating disposition ; for this is 
still but moral charity, and an act that oweth 
more to passion than reason. He that relieves 
another upon the bare suggestion and bowels 
of pity doth not this so much for his sake 
as for his own : for by compassion we make 
other's misery our own : and so, by relieving 
them, we relieve ourselves also. It is as 
erroneous a conceit to redress other men's 
misfortunes upon the common considerations 
of merciful natures, that it may be one day 
our own case ; for this is a sinister and politick 
kind of charity, whereby we seem to bespeak 
the pities of men in the like occasions. And 
The nature truly I have observed that these professed 
befnlsSgni- elcemosynaries, though in a crowd or multi- 
fied in their tudc, do yet direct and place their petitions 
forms. on a few and selected persons ; there is surely 

a physiognomy, which those experienced and 
master mendicants observe, whereby they 
instantly discover a merciful aspect, and will 
single out a face, wherein they spy the 
signatures and marks of mercy : for there are 
mystically in our faces certain characters which 
carry in them the motto of our souls, wherein 
he that cannot read ABC may read our 
natures. I hold, moreover, that there is a 
phytognomy, or physiognomy, not only of men, 
but of plants and vegetables; and in every 



RELIGIO MEDICI 91 

one of them some outward figures which hang 
as signs or bushes of their inward forms. The.- 
finger of God hath left an inscription upon 
all his works, not graphical, or composed of 
letters, but of their several forms, constitutions, 
parts, and operations, which, aptly joined 
together, do make one word that doth express 
their natures. By these letters God calls the Ps. cxlvii. 4. 
stars by their names; and by this alphabet 
Adam assigned to every creature a name Gen. ii. 
peculiar to its nature. Now there are, besides ^^' ^°' 
these characters in our faces, certain mystical Of chiro- i 
figures in our hands, which I dare not call mere ""^"'^y- 
dashe!?;"Strokes a la voice or at random, because 
delineated by a pencil that never works in 
vain ; and hereof I take more particular notice, 
because I carry that in mine own hand which 
I could never read of nor discover in another. 
Aristotle, I confess, in his acute and singular 
600k of physiognomy, hath made no mention 
of chiromancy ; yet I believe the Egyptians, 
who were nearer addicted to those abstruse 
and mystical sciences, had a knowledge 
therein : to which those vagabond and counter- 
feit Egyptians did after pretend, and perhaps 
retained a few corrupted principles, which 
sometimes might verify their prognosticks. 

It is the common wonder of all men, how. Variety of 
among so many millions of faces, there should Sl-Sn 
be none alike : now, contrary, I wonder as nature. 
much how there should be any. He that 
shall consider how many thousand several 
words have been carelessly and without study 
composed out of twenty-four letters ; withal, 
how many hundred lines there are to be 



92 RELIGIO MEDICI 

drawn in the fabrick of one man ; shall easily 
find that this variety is necessary : and it will 
be very hard that they shall so concur as to 
make one portract like another. Let a painter 
carelessly limn out a million faces, and you 
shall find them all different : yea^ let him have 
his copy before him, yet, after all his art, there 
will remain a sensible distinction : for the 
pattern or example of everything is the 
perfectest in that kind, whereof we still come 
short, though we transcend or go beyond it ; 
because herein it is wide, and agrees not in 
all points unto its copy. Nor doth the 
similitude of creatures disparage the variety 
of nature, nor any way confound the works of 
God. For even in things alike there is 
diversity ; and those that do seem to accord 
do manifestly disagree. And thus is man 
like God; for, in the same things that we 
resemble him we are utterly different from 
him. There was never anything so like 
another as in all points to concur ; there will 
ever some reserved difference slip in, to 
prevent the identity; without which two 
several things would not be alike, but the 
same, which is impossible. 
The souls of HI. But, to return from philosophy to 
our fellow- charity, I hold not so narrow a conceit of this 

creatures as •' 

much the virtuc as to conccivc that to give alms is only 
chirity'as ^^ ^^ charitable, or think a piece of liberality 
their bodies, can comprehend the total of charity. Divinity 
hath wisely divided the act thereof into many 
branches, and hath taught us, in this narrow 
way, many paths unto goodness; as many 
ways as we may do good, so many ways we 



RELIGIO MEDICI 93 

may be charitable. There are infirmities not 
only of body, but of soul and fortunes, which 
do require the merciful hand of our abilities. 
I cannot contemn a man for ignorance, but 
behold him with as much pity as I do Lazarus. 
It is no greater charity to clothe his body 
than apparel the nakedness of his soul. It is 
an honourable object to see the reasons of 
other men wear our liveries, and their borrowed 
understandings do homage to the bounty of 
ours. It is the cheapest way of beneficence, 
and, like the natural charity of the sun, 
illuminates another without obscuring itself. 
To be reserved and caitiff in this part of good- 
ness is the sordidest piece of covetousness, 
and more contemptible than the pecuniary 
avarice. To this (as calling myself a scholar) The duty of 
I am obliged by the duty of my condition. I knowledge. 
make not therefore my head a grave, but a 
treasure of knowledge. I intend no monopoly, 
but a community in learning. I study not for r:-*^^ 
my own sake only, but for theirs that study /) 
not for themselves. I envy no man that /(^ 
knows more than myself, but pity them that 
know less. I instruct no man as an exercise 
of my knowledge, or with an intent rather to 
nourish and keep it alive in mine own head 
than beget and propagate it in his. And, in 
the midst of all my endeavours, there is but 
one thought that dejects me, that my acquired 
parts must perish with myself, nor can be 
legacied among my honoured friends. I can- Differences 
not fall out or contemn a man for an error, of option 

111 need not 

or conceive why a difference in opinion should divide aflfec- 
divide an affection; for controversies, disputes, *'°°* 



94 RELIGIO MEDICI 

and argumentations, both in philosophy and 
in divinity, if they meet with discreet and 
peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of 
charity. In all disputes, so much as there is 
of passion, so much there is of nothing to the 
purpose ; for then reason, like a bad hound, 
spends upon a false scent, and forsakes the 
question first started. And this is one reason 
why controversies are never determined ; for, 
though they be amply proposed, they are 
scarce at all handled : they do so swell with 
unnecessary digressions ; and the parenthesis 
on the party is often as large as the main 
discourse upon the subject, The fo untains of 
religion are alr eady establTsRed, "and the 
principles ot salvation subscribecT untoHBy" all. 
I'here remams nor inany controversies worth 
a passion, and yet never any disputed without, 
not only in divinity but inferior arts. What 
a f3aTpa)(^ofxvofj.axocL and hot skirmish is be- 
twixt S. and T. in Lucian ! ^ How doth 
grammarians hack and slash for the genitive 
case 2 in Jupiter I How do they break their 
own pates, to salve that of Priscian ! 

Horace, Siforet in terris, rideret Democritus. 

Epist. ii. 

1. 194. Yea, even amongst wiser militants, how many 

wounds have been given and credits slain, for 
the poor victory of an opinion, or beggarly 
conquest of a distinction ! Scholars are men 
of peace, they bear no arms, but their tongues 

1 In his Dialog, judicium vocalium, in which Sigma 
complains, in an oration made to the vowels, that Tau 
has robbed him of many words, which should begin with 
Signui. 

2 "VVhether Jovis or Jupitris. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 95 

are sharper than Actius his razor ; ^ their pens 
carry farther, and give a louder report than 
thunder. I had rather stand in the shock of 
a basilisco than in the fury of a merciless pen. 
It is not mere zeal to learning, or devotion to 
the Muses, that wiser princes patron the arts, 
and carry an indulgent aspect unto scholars ; 
but a desire to have their names eternized .^ 
by the memory of their writings, and a fear 
of the revengeful pen of succeeding ages : 
for these are the men that, when they have 
played their parts, and had their exits, must 
step out and give the moral of their scenes, 
and deliver unto posterity an inventory of 
their virtues and vices. And surely there 
goes a great deal of conscience to the com- 
piling of an history : there is no reproach to 
the scandal of a story ; it is such an authentick 
kind of falsehood that with authority belies 
our good names to all nations and posterity. 

IV. There is another offence unto charity, National 
which no author hath ever written of, and Sf^lty! 
few take notice of, and that's the reproach, 
not of whole professions, mysteries, and con- 
ditions, but of whole nations, wherein by 
opprobrious epithets we miscal each other, and, 
by an uncharitable logick, from a disposition in 
a few, conclude a habit in all. 

Le mutin Anglois, et le bravache Escossois 
Le bougre Itnlien, et lefol Frangois; 
Le poltron Romain, le larron de Gascogne, 
VEspagnol superbe, et I'Aleman yvrogne, 

^ Accius Nsevius, the chief augur, who is reported by 
Livy to have cut a whetstone through with a razor. 



96 RELIGIO MEDICI 

Tit. i. 12. St. Paul, that calls the Cretiaris liars, doth 

it but indirectly, and upon quotation of their 
own poet. It is as bloody a thought in one 
way as Nero's was in another ; for by a word 
we wound a thousand, and at one blow 
assassine the honour of a nation. It is as 
complete a piece of madness to miscal and 
rave against the times ; or think to recall men 
to reason by a fit of passion. Democritus, 
that thought to laugh the times into good- 
ness, seems to me as deeply hypochondriack 
as Heraclitus that bewailed them. It moves 
not my spleen to behold the multitude in 
their proper humours ; that is, in their fits of 
folly and madness, as well understanding that 
wisdom is not profaned unto the world ; and 
'tis the privilege of a few to be virtuous. 
. They that endeavour to abolish vice destroy 
^^ ^^^^ virtue; for contraries, Jthough they de- 
'BtrovoneanolElTer, are yet the life of one 
anomer! Thus virtue (Jabolish vice) is an 
jdea. Again, the community of sin doth not 
lisparage goodness; for, when vice gains 
iipon the major part, virtue, in whom it 
remains, becomes more excellent, and being 
lost in some, multiplies its goodness in others 
which remain untouched, and persists entire 
in the general inundation. I can therefore 
behold vice without a satire, content only 
with an admonition, or instructive reprehen- 
sion ; for noble natures, and such as are 
capable of goodness, are railed into vice, 
that might as easily be admonished into 
virtue; and we should be all so far the 
orators of goodness as to protect her from 



RELIGIO MEDICI 97 

the power of vice^ and maintain the cause of 
injured truth. No ma n can justly ce nsure or 
n npdemn fl.n nth'py^""tSecaiise. indeed, no man 
*truly knows another. This I perceive in Man most 
mjTselfT for I am iii the dark to all the world, jfeknCwi" 
and my nearest friends behold me but in a ledge of 
cloud. Those that know me but superficially ^^^^ ' 
think less of me than I do of myself; those 
of my near acquaintance think more; God, 
who truly knows me, knows that I am 
nothing : for He only beholds me, and all 
the world, who looks not on us through a 
derived ray, or a trajection of a sensible 
species, but beholds the substance without 
the helps of accidents, and the forms of 
things, as we their operations. Further, no 
man can judge another, because no man 
knows himself; for we censure others but as 
they disagree from that humour which we 
fancy laudable in ourselves, and commend 
others but for that wherein they seem to 
quadrate and consent with us. So that in i 
conclusion, all is but that we all condemn, )/ 
self-love. 'Tis the general complaint of these 
times, and perhaps of those past, that charity 
grows cold ; which I perceive most verified 
in those which most do manifest the fires and 
flames of zeal ; for it is a virtue that best 
agrees with coldest natures, and such as are 
complexioned for humility. But how shall 
we expect charity towards others, when we 
are uncharitable to ourselves ? Charity begins 
at horne, is the voice of the world; yet is 
every man his greatest enemy, and as it were 
his own executioner. Non occides is the com- Ex. xx. t^. 
G 



98 RELIGIO MEDICI 

mandment of God, yet scarce observed by 
any man ; for I perceive every man is his 
own Atropos, and lends a hand to cut the 
thread of his own days. Cain was not there- 
fore the first murtherer, but Adam, who 
brought in death ; whereof he beheld the 
practice and example in his own son Abel ; 
and saw that verified in the experience of 
another which faith could not persuade him 
in the theory of himself 
Ofsym- V. There is, I think, no man that appre- 

^^ ^" hends his own miseries less than myself; 

and no man that so nearly apprehends an- 
other's^ Tcould lose an arm without a tear, 
>— «^ anSTwith few groans, methinks, be quartered 
into pieces; yet can I weep most seriously 
at a play, and receive with a true passion 
the counterfeit griefs of those known and 
professed impostures. It is a barbarous part 
of inhumanity to add unto any afflicted 
party's misery, or endeavour to multiply in 
any man a passion whose single nature is 
already above his patience. This was the 
Jobxix. greatest affliction of Job, and those oblique 
expostulations of his friends a deeper injury 
than the downright blows of the devil. It is*^ 
not the tears of our own eyes only, but of 
our friends also, that do exhaust the current y 
of our sorrows; which, falling into man^ 
streams, runs more peaceably, and is con-^ 
tented with a narrower channel. It is an ^ 
act within the power of charity, to translate J 
a passion out of one breast into another, and / ^ 
to divide a sorrow almost out of itself; foy <f'^[^. 
an affliction, like a dimension, may be 



and/ 

r 



RELIGIO MEDICI 99 

divided as, if not indivisible, at least to 
become insensible. Now with my friend I 
desire not to share or participate, but to 
engross his sorrows; that, by making them 
mine own, I may more easily discuss them : 
for in mine own reason, and within myself, 
I can command that which I cannot entreat 
without myself, and within the circle of 
another. I have often thought those noble 
pairs and examples of friendship not so truly 
histories of what had been, as fictions of what 
should be; but I now perceive nothing in 
them but possibilities, nor anything in the 
heroick examples of Damon and Pythias, 
Achilles and Patroclus, which, methinks, 
upon some grounds, I could not perform 
within the narrow compass of myself. That 
a man should lay down his life for his friend 
seems strange to vulgar affections and such 
as confine themselves within that worldly 
principle. Charily begins at home. For mine 
own part, I could never remember the rela- 
tions that I held unto myself, nor the respect 
that I owe unto mine own nature, in the 
cause of God, my country, and my friends 
Next to these three, I do embrace myself. 
I confess I do not observe that order that the 
schools ordain our affections : to love our 
parents, wives, children, and then our friends; 
for, excepting the injunctions of religion, I 
do not find in myself such a necessary and 
indissoluble sympathy to all those of my 
blood. I hope I do not break the fifth com- 
mandment if I conceive I may love my friend 
before the nearest of my blood, even those to 




RELIGIO MEDICI 

whom I owe the principles of life. I never 
yet cast a true affection on a woman ; but I 
have loved my friend, as I do virtue, my soul, 
my God. From hence, methinks, I do con- 
ceive how God loves man; what happiness 
there is in the love of God. Omitting all 
other, there are three most mystical unions ; 
two natures in one person ; three persons in 
one nature ; one soul in two bodies. For 
though, indeed, they be really divided, yet 
are they so united, as they seem but one, 
V , and make rather a duality than two distinct 
\ souls. 
The mystery VI. There are wonders in true affection. 
affectfon. ^^ ^^ a body of enigmas, mysteries, and 
riddles ; wherein two so become one as they 
both become two : I love my friend before 
myself, and yet, methinks, I do not love 
him enough. Some few months hence, my 
multiplied affection will make me believe I 
have not loved him at all. When I am from 
him, I am dead till I be with him ; when I 
am with him I am not satisfied, but would 
still be nearer him. United souls are not 
\ satisfied with embraces, but desire to be 
■ truly each other; which being impossible, 
their desires are infinite, and must proceed 
without a possibility of satisfaction. Another 
misery there is in affection ; that whom we 
i truly love like our own selves, we forget their 
\ looks, nor can our memory retain the idea of 
1 their faces ; and it is no wonder, for they are 
' ourselves, and our affection makes their looks 
our own. This noble affection falls not on 
vulgar and common constitutions; but on such 



RELIGIO MEDICI 101 

as are marked for virtue. He that can love 
his friend with this noble ardour will in a 
competent degree affect all. Now^fj£:e_-can 
bring our affections to look bej^ond the body, 
anB^Tst ah eye upon the soulj we have found 
out the true object, not only of friendship, 
but cTiarity : and the greatest happiness that / 
we can bequeath the soul is that wherein we 
all do place our last felicity, salvation ; which, 
though it be not in our power to bestow, it is ' 
in our charity and pious invocations to desire, 
if not procure and further. I cannot con- 1 . 
tentedly frame a prayer for myself in par- I 
-tfciilar, without a catalogue for my friends ; * 
noF request a happiness wherein my sociable 
disposition doth not desire the fellowship of 
my neighbour. I never hear the toll of a 
passing bell, though in my mirth, without my 
prayers and best wishes for the departing 
spirit. I cannot go to cure the body of my 
patient, but I forget my profession, and call 
jinto God for^hi§ soul. I cannot see one say 
his prayers, but, instead of imitating him, 
I fall into supplication for him, who perhaps 
is no more to me than a common nature ; 
and if God hath vouchsafed an ear to my 
supplications, there are surely many happy 
that never saw me, and enjoy the blessing 
of mine unknown devotions. To pray for 
enemies, that is, for their salvation, is no 
harsh precept, but the practice of our daily 
and ordinary devotions. I cannot believe 
the story of the Italian; our bad wishes and 
uncharitable desires proceed no further than 
this life ; it is the devil, and the uncharitable 



/ 



the sweetest 
revenge 



102 RELIGIO MEDICI 

votes of hell, that desire our misery in the 
world to come. 

To forgive IS VII. To do 110 injury nor take none was a 
principle which, to ray former years and im- 
patient affections, seemed to contain enough 
of morality, but my more settled years and 
Christian constitution have fallen upon severer 
resolutions. I can hold there is no such thing 
as injury; that if there be, there is no such 
injury as revenge, and no such revenge as the 
contempt of an injury; that to hate another 
is to malign himself; that the truest way to 
love another is to despise ourselves. I were 
unjust unto mine own conscience if I should 
say I am at variance with anything like myself. 
I find there are many pieces in this one fabrick 
of man ; this frame is raised upon a mass of 
antipathies : I am one methinks but as the 
world, wherein notwithstanding there are a 
swarm of distinct essences, and in them 
another world of contrarieties; we carry 
private and domestic enemies within, publick 
and more hostile adversaries without. The 

2 Cor. xii. 7, dcvil, that did but buffet St. Paul, plays me- 
thinks at sharp with me. Let me be nothing, 
if within the compass of myself, I do not find 
the battle of Lepanto, passion against reason, 
reason against faith, faith against the devil, 
and my conscience against all. There is 
another man within me that 's angry with me, 
: rebukes, commands, and dastards me. I have 
no conscience of marble, to resist the hammer 
of more heavy offences : nor yet so soft and 
waxen, as to take the impression of each 
single peccadillo or scape of infirmity. I am 



RELIGIO MEDICI 103 

of a strange belief, that.it Js_as_ easy to be 
forgiven some sins as to commit some others. 
For my original sin, I hold it to be washed 
away in my baptism; for my actual trans- 
gressions, I compute and reckon with God 
but from my last repentance, sacrament, or 
general absolution; and therefore am not 
terrified with the sins or madness of my 
youth. I thank the goodness of God, I have 
no sins that want a name. I am not singular 
in offences ; my transgressions are epidemical, 
and from the common breath of our corrup- 
tion. For there are certain tempers of body 
which, matched with an humorous depravity 
of mind, do hatch and produce vitiosities 
whose newness and monstrosity of nature 
admits no name ; this was the temper of that 
lecher that carnaled with a statua, and the 
constitution of Nero in his spintrian recrea- 
tions. For the heavens are not only fruitful 
in new and unheard-of stars, the earth in 
plants and animals, but men's minds also in 
villainy and vices. Now the dulness of my 
reason, and the vulgarity of my disposition, 
never prompted my invention nor solicited 
my affection unto any of these; yet even 
those common and quotidian infirmities that 
so necessarily attend me, and do seem to be 
my very nature, have so dejected me, so 
broken the estimation that I should have 
otherwise of myself, that I repute myself the 
most abjectest piece of mortality. Divines 
prescribe a fit of sorrow to repentance : there 
goes indignation, anger, sorrow, hatred, into 
mine, passions of a contrary nature, which 



conceit. 



104 RELIGIO MEDICI 

neither seem to suit with this action, nor my 
proper constitution. It is no breach of charity 
to ourselves to be at variance with our vices, 
nor to abhor that part of us which is an enemy 
to the ground of charity, our God ; wherein 
we do but imitate our great selves, the \vorld, 
whose divided antipathies and contrary faces 
do yet carry a charitable regard unto the 
whole, by their particular discords preserving 
the common harmony, and keeping in fetters 
those powers, whose rebellions, once masters, 
might be the ruin of all. 
Of pride and VIII. I thank God, amongst those millions 
of vices I do inherit and hold from Adam, I 
have escaped one, and that a mortal enemy to 
charity, the first and fatbEis^in, not only of 
man, but of the devil^ pride\ a vice whose 
name is comprehended i^anfldnosyllable, but 
in its nature not circumscribed with_auWQjid, 
I ha ve_escapedjljn.ajinn rl i ti tuxjha t^canjiardly 
avoid it. Those petty acquisitions and reputed 
perfections, that advance and elevate the con- 
ceits of other men, add no feathers unto mine. 
I have seen a grammarian tower and plume 
himself over a single line in Horace, and show 
more pride, in the construction of one ode, 
than the author in the composure of the whole 
book. For my own part, besides the jargon 
and patois of several provinces, I understand 
no less than six languages ; yet I protest I 
have no higher conceit of myself than had our 
fathers before the confusion of Babel, when 
there was but one language in the world, and 
none to boast himself either linguist or critick. 
I have not only seen several countries, beheld 



RELIGIO MEDICI 105 

the nature of their climes, the chorography of 
their provinces, topography of their cities, but 
understood their several laws, customs, and 
policies ; yet cannot all this persuade the dul- 
ness of my spirit unto such an opinion of my- 
self as I behold in nimbler and conceited 
heads, that never looked a degree beyond 
their nests. I know the names and somewhat 
more of all the constellations in my horizon ; 
yet I have seen a prating mariner, that could 
only name the pointers and the north-star, 
out-talk me, and conceit himself a whole sphere 
above me. I know most of the plants of 
my country, and of those about me, yet me- 
thinks I do not know so many as when I did 
but know a hundred, and had scarcely ever^ 
simpled further than Cheapside. For, indeed, j 
heads of capacity, and s uch as are not full with / 
aJiandfuLpr easy measure of knowledge, think ( 
|hey know nothing tilTttiey know all ; which/ 
Ijeing impossibIejtliey"TalI upon the opinionV 
of SocrateS;j_and only know they know not any ) 
thing. I"" cann^~ltliink that Homer pined 
away upon the riddle of the fisherman, or that 
Aristotle, who understood the uncertainty of 
knowledge, and confessed so often the reason 
of man too weak for the works of nature, did 
ever drown himself upon the flux and reflux 
of Euripus. We do b ut learn, to-day, what 
our better adv anced ludgments will Untea"cir 
to-morrow; an5 Aristotle^" do th biit instruct 
us , as Plato did him, that_ is,^to_confute him- 
"self. i have run through allsorts, yet inKTnb 
rest in any : though our first studies and junior 
endeavours may style us Peripateticks, Stoicks, 



106 RELIGIO MEDICI 

or Academicks, yet I perceive the wisestjieads 

^' prove, at last, almost all Scepticks^ and stand 
like Janus in the field of knowledge. I have 
therefore one common and authentick philo- 
sophy I learned in the schools, whereby I 
discourse and satisfy the reason of other men ; 
another more reserved, and drawn from 
experience, whereby I content mine own. 
Solomon, that complained of ignorance in the 
height of knowledge, hath not only humbled 
my conceits, but discouraged my endeavours. 
There is yet another conceit that hath some- 
times made me shut my books, which tells me 
it is a vanity to waste our days in th e blind 
pursijit of knowledge : it is but attending a 
little longer, and we shall enjoy that, by in- 
stinct and infusion, which we endeavour at 
here by labour and inquisition. It is better 
to sit down in a modest ignorance, and rest 
contented with the natural blessing of our own 
reasons, than buy the uncertain knowledge of 
this life, with sweat and vexation, which death 
gives every fool gratis, and is an accessary of 
our glorification. 
Of marriage IX. I was never yet once, and commend 
their resolutions who never marry twice. Not 
that I disallow of second marriage ; as neither 
in all cases of polygamy, which considering 
some times, and the unequal number of both 
sexes, may be also necessary. The whole 
world was made for man, but the twelfth part 
of man for woman. Man is the whole world, 
and the breath of God ; woman the rib and 
crooked piece of man. I cou ld be. 
^hat we might procreate liKe trees. 



and har 
mony 



RELIGIO MEDICI 107 

comunction, or that there were any way to 

;^rpetuate the "WorM without this trivial and 
v^gar way of coition : it is the foolishest act 
a wise^ man comraits^in *ll his life> nor is th€«e 
any thing that will more deject his cooled 
imagination, when he shall consider what an 
odd and unworthy piece of folly he hath com- 
mitted. I speak not in prejudice, nor am 
averse from that sweet sex, but naturally 
amorous of all that is beautiful. I can look a 
whole day with delight upon a handsome 
picture, though it be but of an horse. It is 
my temper, and I like it the better, to affect all 
harmony ; and sure there is musick, even in the 
beauty and the silent note which Cupid strikes, 
far sweeter than the sound of an instrument. 
For there is a musick wherever there is a har- 
mony, order, or proportion ; and thus far we 
may maintain the musick of the spheres : for 
those well-ordered motions, and regular paces, 
though they give no sound unto the ear, yet 
to the understanding they strike a note most 
full of harmony. Whatsoever is harmonically 
composed delights in harmony, which makes 
me much distrust the symmetry of those heads 
which declaim against all church-musick. For 
myself, not only from my obedience but my 
particular genius, I do embrace it : for even 
that vulgar and tavern-musick, which makes 
one man merry, another mad, strikes in me a 
deep fit of devotion, and a profound contem- 
plation of the First Composer. There is some- 
thing in it of divinity more than the ear dis- 
covers : it is an hieroglyphical and shadowed 
lesson of the whole world and creatures of 



108 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



PluBd. c. 36. 



God ; such a melody to the ear, as the whole 
world, well understood, would afford the un- 
derstanding. In brief, it is a sensible fit of 
that harmony which intellectually sounds in 
the ears of God. I will not say, with Plato. 
the soul is an harmony, but harmonical, and 
hath its nearest sympathy unto musick : thus 
some, whose temper of body agrees, and 
humours the constitution of their souls, are 
born poets, though indeed all are naturally 
inclined unto rhythm. This made Tacitus, in 
the very first line of his story, fall upon a 
verse ;^ and Cicero, the worst of poets, but 
declaiming for a poet, falls in the very first 
sentence upon a perfect hexameter. 2 I feel 
not in me those sordid and unchristian desires 
of my profession ; I do not secretly implore 
and wish for plagues, rejoice at famines, re- 

humamtyat , -, .j i i i • j. 

heart. volve ephemerides and almanacks m expecta- 

tion of malignant aspects, fatal conjunctions, 
and eclipses. I rejoice not at unwholesome 
springs nor unseasonable winters : my prayer 
goes with the husbandman's; I desire every- 
-^ thing in its proper season, that neither men 
nor the times be out of temper. Let me be 
sick myself, if sometimes the malady of my 
patient be not a disease unto me. I desire 
rather to cure his infirmities than my own 
necessities. Where I do him no good, me- 
thinks it is scarce honest gain, though I confess 
'tis but the worthy salary of our well-intended 
endeavours. I am not only ashamed but 

1 Urhem Romam in principio regcs hdbuere. — A nnales, 1.1. 

2 In qud me non inficior mediocriter esse. — Cicero, pro 
Archia Poeta. 



Our Phy- 
sician hath 
the general 
cause of 



RELIGIO MEDICI 109 

heartily sorry, that, besides death, there are 
diseases incurable ; yet not for my own sake 
or that they be beyond my art, but for the 
general cause and sake of humanity, whose! 
common cause I apprehend as mine own^^ J 
And, to speak more generally, those three 
noble professions which all civil common- 
wealths do honour, are raised upon the fall of 
Adam, and are not any way exempt from their 
infirmities. There are not only diseases in- 
curable in physick, but cases indissolvable in 
laws, vices incorrigible in divinit y. If general 
councils may err, I do not see whyj[J?rrtTCTrfctr 0,^^/a) 

rules areTai^d^ upon The erro neous.. reasons of 
^aii, and the laws ot^one do but condemn the 
r ules ot anotlie r; as Aristntlr ^^t-tim*^s the 
opinion of his predecessors, because, though 
agyeeabl e"to reas on ^ yet we re not consonant 
tohis_pwn_rules and the logick of his proper 
principles. Again (to^ speak nothing of the 
sirfagainst the Holy Ghost, whose cure not St. Matt. 
only, but whose nature is unknown), I can ^"" ^^' 
cure the gout or stone in some, sooner than 
divinity, pride, or avarice in others. I ,can^. 
cure vices by pliy sick when they remain incur- \/ 
atle by divinity, and they shall obey my pills 
when they contemn their precepts. I boast 
nothing, but plainly say, we all labour against 
our own cure; for death is the cure of all 
diseases. There is no catholicon or universaF 
remedy I know, but this, which though nau- 
seous to queasy stomachs, yet to prepared 
appetites is nectar, and a pleasant potion of 
immortality. 



110 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



Our 

Physician 
thinketh no 
man so bad 
but there is 
good in him, 



and feareth 
his own 

corruption 
more than 
contagion 
from others. 



X. For my conversation, it is, like the sun's, 
with all men, and with a friendly aspect to 
good and bad. Methinks there_is_^o man 
bad ; and the worst best, that is, while they 
are kept within the circle of those qualities 
wherein they are good. There is no man's 
mind of such discordant and jarring a temper, 
to which a tunable disposition may not strike 
a harmony. Magnce virtides, nee minora vitia ; 
it is the posy of the best natures, and may be 
inverted on the worst. There are, in the 
most depraved and venomous dispositions, 
certain pieces that remain untouched, which 
by an antiperistasis become more excellent, or 
by the excellency of their antipathies are able 
to preserve themselves from the contagion of 
their enemy vices, and persist entire beyond 
the general corruption. For it is also thus in 
natures : the greatest balsams do lie enveloped 
in the bodies of the most powerful corrosives. 
I say, moreover, and I ground upon experience, 
that poisons contain within themselves their 
own antidote, and that which preserves them 
from the venom of themselves ; without which 
they were not deleterious to others only, but 
to themselves also. But it is the corruption 
that I fear within me ; not the contagion of 
commerce without me. 'Tis that unruly regi- 
ment within me that will destroy me ; 'tis I 
that do infect myself; the man without a 
navel ^ yet lives in me. I feel that original 
canker corrode and devour me : and therefore, 
Defenda me, Dios, de me! 'Lord, deliver me from 

^ Adam, whom I conceive to want a navel, because he 
was not born of a woman. 



RELIGIO MEDICI 111 

myself ! ' is a part of my litany, and the first 
voice of my retired imaginations. There is no 
man alone, because every man is a microcosm, 
and carries the whole world about him. 
Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus, thouffh it ^^^?.\ ^' 
be the apothegm oi a wise man, is yet true m 
the mouth of a fool: for indeed, though in 
a wilderness, a man is never alone ; not only 
because he is with himself, and his own 
thoughts, but because he is with the devil, 
who ever consorts with our solitude, and is 
that unruly rebel that musters up those 
disordered motions which accompany our 
sequestered imaginations. And to speak 
more narrowly, there is no such thing as 
solitude, nor anything that can be said to 
be alone, and by itself, but God, who is his 
own circle, and can subsist by himself; all 
others, besides their dissimilary and hetero- 
geneous parts, which in a manner multiply 
their natures, cannot subsist without the ) 
concourse of God, and the society of that/ 
hand which doth uphold their natures. Inr 
brief, there can be nothing truly alone, an(K 
by itself, which is not truly one, and such is/ 
only God: all others. do transcend an unity,\ 
and so by consequence are many. 

XI. Now for my life, it is a miracle of Mans life 
thirty years, which to relate, were not a miracle. 
history, but a piece of poetry, and would 
sound to common ears like a fable. For the 
world, I count it not an inn, but an hospital ; 
and a place not to live, but to die in. Xhe 
world that I regard is myself; it is the 
microcosm of my own frame that I cast mine 



112 RELIGIO MEDICI 

eyes on : for the other, I use it but like my 
globe, and turn it round sometimes for my 
recreation. Men that look upon my outside, 
perusing only my condition and fortunes, do 
err in my altitude ; for I am above Atlas his 
shoulders. The earth is a point not only in 
respect of the heavens above us, but of that 
heavenly and celestial part within us. That 
mass of flesh that circumscribes me limits not 
my mind. That surface that tells the heavens 
it hath an end cannot persuade me I have 
any. I take my circle to be above three 
hundred and sixty. Though the number of 
the arc do measure my body, it comprehendeth 
not my mind. Whilst I study to find how I 
am a microcosm, or little world, I find myself 
something more than the great. There is 
surely a piece of divinity in us; something 
that was before the elements, and owes no 
homage unto the sun. Nature tells me I am 
Gen. i. 27. the image of God, as well as Scripture. He 
that understands not thus much hath not his 
introduction or first lesson, and is yet to begin 
the alphabet of man. Let me not injure your 
felicity of others, if I say I am as happy as 
any. Ruat c(jeliim,Jiat voluntas tua, salveth all ; 
so that, whatsoever happens, it is but what 
our daily prayers desire. In brief, I am 
content; and what should Providence add 
more? Surely this is it we call happiness, 
and this do I enjoy ; with this I am happy in 
a dream, and as content to enjoy a happiness 
in a fancy, as others in a more apparent truth 
and reality. There is surely a nearer appre- 
hension of any thing that delights us, in 



RELIGIO MEDICI 113 

our dreams, than in our waked senses. With- Of dreams. 
out this I were unhappy ; for my awaked 
judgment discontents me, ever whispering 
unto me that I am from my friend ; but my 
friendly dreams in the night requite me, and 
make me think I am within his arms. I thank 
God for my happy dreams, as I do for my 
good rest ; for there is a satisfaction in them 
unto reasonable desires, and such as can be 
content with a fit of happiness. And surely it 
is not a melancholy conceit to think we are 
all asleep in this world, and that the conceits 
of this life are as mere dreams to those of the 
next, as the phantasms of the night to the 
conceits of the day. There is an equal delu- 
sion in both ; and the one doth but seem to be 
the emblem or picture of the other. We are . 
somewhat more than ourselves in our sleeps ; i 
an d the slum ber of thje^bqdy seems to be but / 
the waking of the souls — It i& the ligation of \ 
sense, but the liberty of reason; and our / 
w^)king~?5Qnceplion s do not match the fancies \ 
of our sleeps^ At my nativity, my ascendant ] 
was the w^ry sign of Scorpius. I was born 
in the planetary hour of Saturn, and I think I 
have a piece of that leaden planet in me. 
I am no way facetious, nor disposed for the 
mirth and galliardise of company; vet in 

ojie dream I raii_j;om pose a who jj^^ ppYiifd yj, 

behold the action, appreliend the jests, and 
lau^h myself a wake at tne conceits t Tiereotr 
Were my memory as faithful as my reason 
is then fruitful, I would never study but in 
my dreams, and this time also would I choose 
for my devotions : but our grosser memories 
H 



114 RELIGIO MEDICI 

have then so little hold of our abstracted 
understandings, that they forget the story, 
and can only relate to our awaked souls a 
confused and broken tale of that that hath 
passed. Aristotle, who hath written a singular 
tract Of Sleep, hath not, methinks, throughly 
defined it ; nor yet Galen, though he seem to 
have corrected it; for those nodamhuloes and 
night-walkers, though in their sleep, do yet 
enjoy the action of their senses. We must 
therefore say that there is something in us 
that is not in the jurisdiction of Morpheus ; and 
that those abstracted and ecstatick souls do 
walk about in their own corps, as spirits with 
the bodies they assume, wherein they seem to 
hear, see, and feel, though indeed the organs 
are destitute of sense, and their natures of 
those faculties that should inform them. 
Thus it is observed, that men sometimes, 
upon the hour of their departure, do speak.^ 
and reason above themselves. For then the,} 
soul beg ^inninff to be freed from the ligaments^ 
of the bodvj begins to reason like herself, andj 
to discourse in a strain above mortality. ^,^''''**'^ 
Of sleep. I XII. We term sleep a death; and yet it is 
waking that kills us, and destroys those spirits 
that are the house of life. 'Tis indeed a part 
of life that best expresseth death ; for every 
man truly lives, so long as he acts his nature, 
or some way makes good the faculties of 
himself. Themistocles therefore, that slew 
his soldier in his sleep, was a merciful execu- 
tioner : 'tis a kind of punishment the mildness 
of no laws hath invented ; I wonder the fancy 
of Lucan and Seneca did not discover it. It 



\ 



RELIGIO MEDICI 116 

is that death by which we may be literally 

said to die daily ; a death which Adam died i Cor. xv. 3. 

before his mortality ; a death whereby we live 

a middle and moderating point between life 

and death. In fine, so like death, I dare not 

trust it without my prayers, and an half adieu 

unto the world, and take my farewell in a 

colloquy with God : — 

The niglit is come, like to the day ; 
Depart not thou, great God, away. 
Let not my sins, black as the night. 
Eclipse the lustre of thy light. 

I Keep still in my horizon ; for to me 
The sun makes not the day, but thee. 
Thou whose nature cannot sleep. 
On my temples sentry keep ; 
Guard me 'gainst those watchful foes. 
Whose eyes are open while mine close. 
Let no dreams my head infest. 
But such as Jacob's temples blest. 
While I do rest, my soul advance : 
Make my sleep a holy trance : 
That I may, my rest being wrought. 
Awake into some holy thought. 
And with as active vigour run 
My course, as doth the nimble sun. 
Sleep is a death ; O make me try, 
By sleeping, what it is to die ! 
And as gently lay my head 
On my grave, as now my bed. 
Howe'er I rest, great God, let me 
Awake again at last with thee. 
And thus assured, behold I lie 
Securely, or to wake or die. 
These are my drowsy days ; in vain 
I do now wake to sleep again : 
O come that hour, when I shall never 
Sleep again, but wake for ever ! 



ridiculous 
vice. 



116 RELIGIO MEDICI 

This is the dormitive I take to bedward; I 
need no other laudanum than this to make 
me sleep ; after which I close mine eyes in 
security, content to take my leave of the 
sun, and sleep unto the resurrection. 

Justice, XIII. The method I should use in distribu- 

tive justice, I often observe in commutative, 
and keep a geometrical proportion in both ; 
whereby becoming equable to others, I become 
unjust to myself, and supererogate in that 

Avarice a common principle, Do unto others as thou 
ivouldst be done unto thyself. I was not born 
unto riches, neither is it, I think, my star to 
be wealthy ; or if it were, the freedom of my 
mind and frankness of my disposition, were 
able to contradict and cross my fates ; for to 
mrnrnrinn "rrm" not so much a vice, as a 
deplorable piece of madness ; to conceive 
ourselves urinals, or be persuaded that we 
are dead, is not so ridiculous, nor so many 
degrees beyond the power of hellebore, as 
this. The opinions of theory, and positions 
of men, are not so void of reason as their 
practised conclusions. Some have hel djtbat-^ 
snow is black, that the earth m oves, that 
the soul is air, fire, water : but all th is is 
pnilosopny : ana tnere is no delirium, if we 
do but speculate the folly and indisputable 
dotage of avarice ; to that subterraneous idol, 
and god of the earth, I do confess I am an 
atheist. I cannot persuade myself to honour 
that the world adores; whatsoever virtue its 
prepared substance may have within my body, 
it hath no influence nor operation without. I 
would not entertain a base design, or an 



RELIGIO MEDICI 117 

action that should call me villain, for the 
Indies ; and for this only do I love and honour 
my own soul, and have methinks two arms 
too few to embrace myself. Aristotle is too Poor men 
severe, that will not allow us to be truly ubXaC 
liberal without wealth, and the bountiful hand 
of fortune ; if this be true, I must confess I 
am charitable only in my liberal intentions, 
and bountiful well-wishes. But if the ex- 
ample of the mite be not only an act of St. Luke 
wonder, but an example of the noblest charity, ^^^' ^ ^' 
surely poor men may also build hospitals, and eJen"bmid 
the rich alone have not erected cathedrals, hospitals and 
I have a private method which others observe ^^^ ^ '^ ^' 
not ; I take the opportunity of myself to 
do good ; I borrow occasion of charity from 
mine own necessities, and supply the wants of 
others when I am in most need myself ; for it 
is an honest stratagem to take advantage of 
ourselves, and so to husband the acts of virtue, 
that, where they are defective in one circum- 
stance, they may repay their want, and 
multiply their goodness in another. I have 
not Peru in my desires, but a competence, 
and ability to perform those good works to 
which the Almighty hath inclined my nature. 
He is rich who hath enough to be charitable ; 
and it is hard to be so poor that a noble mind 
may not find a way to this piece of goodness. 
He that givetk to the poor lendeth to the Lord ; Prov. xix. ^^. 
there is more rhetorick in that one sentence 
than in a library of sermons; and indeed, if 
those sentences were understood by the 
reader with the same emphasis as they are 
delivered by the author, we needed not those 



118 



RELIGIO MEDICI 



volumes of instructions, but might be honest 
by an epitome. Upon this motive only I 
cannot behold a beggar without relieving his 
necessities with my purse, or his soul with 
my prayers. These scenical and accidental 
differences between us cannot make me forget 
that common and untouched part of us both; 
there is under these cefdoes and miserable 
outsides, these mutilate and semi-bodies, a 
soul of the same alloy with our own, whose 
genealogy is God as well as ours, and in as 
fair a way to salvation as ourselves. Statists 
that labour to contrive a commonwealth with- 
out poverty take away the object of our 
charity ; not understanding only the common- 
wealth of a Christian, but forgetting the 
prophecy of Christ. 

XIV. Now there is another part of charity, 
J°X!^ ^l' ^'^ which is the basis and pillar of this, and that 

own sake n /^ i n i i 

andoxir is the lovc of God, for whom we love our 
forf^d's!^ neighbour; for this I think charity, to love 
God for himself, and our neighbour for God. 
All that is truly amiable is God, or as it were 
a divided piece of him that retains a reflex or 
shadow of himself. Nor is it strange that 
we should place affection on that which is 
invisible ; all that we truly love is thus. What 
we adore under affection of our senses deserves 
not the honour of so pure a title. Thus we 
adore virtue, though to the eyes of sense she 
be invisible. Thus that part of our noble 
friends that we love, is not that part that we 
embrace, but that insensible part that our 
arms cannot embrace. God being all good- 
ness, can love nothing but himself; he loves 



St. Matt. 
xxvi. II. 



God alone 



RELIGIO MEDICI 119 

us but for that part which is as it were him- 
self, and the traduction of his Holy Spirit. 
Let us call to assize the loves of our parents, 
the affection of our wives and children, and 
they are all dumb shows and dreams, without 
reality, truth, or constancy. For first there is 
a strong bond of affection between us and our 
parents ; yet how easily dissolved ! We be- 
take ourselves to a woman, forget our mother 
in a wife, and the womb that bare us in that 
that shall bear our image. This woman bless- 
ing us with children, our affection leaves the 
level it held before, and sinks from our bed 
unto our issue and picture of posterity : where 
affection holds no steady mansion ; they grow- 
ing up in years, desire our ends ; or, applying 
themselves to a woman, take a lawful way to 
love another better than ourselves. Thus, I 
perceive a man may be buried alive, and be- 
hold jii§_graxe'm hi: sai^iilissliS — - - ^ 

XV. I conclude thereiore; .^.id say, there is Our 
no happiness under (or, as Copernicus will ^ondudeth 
have it, above) the sun ; nor any crambe in and deciareth 
that^repeated verity and burthen of all the that thire is 
.wisdom oF~Solomon : AIU&.m2uty atid vexation no happiness 

—7? .— . — r i /r\ . . s 1 11 but in Ood. 

. qfL^^int ; there is no felicity m that the world 
adores. Aristotle, whilst he labours to refute 
the ideas of ^ato, falls u pon one himself; 
for his summu m bonum is a chimaera'-andT there 
is no sucirtKihg as hisTeTicityT That wherein 
God himself is happy, the holy angels are 
happy, in whose defect the devils are unhappy, 
that dare I call happiness : whatsoever con- 
duceth unto this, may, with an easy metaphor, 
deserve that name ; whatsoever else the world 



120 RELIGIO MEDICI 

terras happiness is, to me, a story out of Pliny, 
an apparition or neat delusion, wherein there 
is no more of happiness than the name. Bless 
me in this life with but the peace of my 
conscience, command of my affections, the 
love of Thyself and my dearest friends, and 
I shall be happy enough to pity Caesar ! These 
are, O Lord, the humble desires of my most 
reasonable ambition, and all I dare call happi- 
ness on earth ; wherein I set no rule or limit 
to thy hand or providence; dispose of me 
according to the wisdom of thy pleasure. 
Thy will be done, though in my own un- 
doing. 



CHRISTIAN 



MORALS 



<l-b 



TO THE BIGHT HONOURABLE 

DAVID, EARL OF BUCHAN, 

VISCOUNT AUCHTERHOUSE, LOBD CARDROSS AND GLEN- 
DOVACHIE, ONE OF THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS 
OF POLICE, AND LORD LIEUTENANT OF THE 
COUNTIES OF STIRLING AND CLACKMAN- 
NAN, IN NORTH BRITAIN 

My Lord, — The honour you have done our family 
obligeth us to make all just acknowledgments of it : 
and there is no form of acknowledgment in our power, 
more worthy of your lordship's acceptance, than this 
dedication of the last work of owe honoured and 
learned father. Encouraged hereunto by the know- 
ledge we have of your lordship's judicious relish of 
universal learning, and sublime virtue, we beg the 
favour of your acceptance of it, which will very 
much oblige our family in general, and her in par- 
ticular, who is, 

My Lord, ' 

Your lordship's most humble Servant, 

Elizabeth Littelton. 



^L 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 



If any one, after he has read Religio Medici, 
and the ensuing discourse, can make doubt 
whether the same person was the author of 
them both, he may be assured, by the testi- 
mony of Mrs. Littelton, Sir Thomas Browne's 
daughter, who lived with her father when it 
was composed by him ; and who, at the time, 
read it written by his own hand ; and also by 
the testimony of others (of whom I am one) 
who read the manuscript of the author, im- 
mediately after his death, and who have since 
read the same; from which it hath been 
faithfully and exactly transcribed for the 
press. The reason why it was not printed 
sooner is, because it was unhappily lost, by 
being mislaid among other manuscripts, for 
which search was lately made in the presence 
of the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, of 
which his Grace, by letter, informed Mrs. 
Littelton, when he sent the manuscript to 
her. There is nothing printed in the dis- 
course, or in the short notes, but what is 
found in the original manuscript of the author, 
except only where an oversight had made 
the addition or transposition of some words 
necessary. 

JOHN JEFFERY, 

Archdeacon of Norwich. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



THE FIRST PART 

Tread softly and circumspectly in this Pursue 
funambulatory track and narrow path of good- ^JJuously. 
ness : pursue virtue virtuously : leaven not 
good actions, nor render virtue disputable. 
Stain not fair acts with foul intentions ; maim 
not uprightness by halting concomitances, nor 
circumstantially deprave substantial goodness. 

Consider whereabout thou art in Cebes's 
Table, or that old philosophical pinax of the 
life of man : ^ whether thou art yet in the 
road of uncertainties ; whether thou hast yet 
entered the narrow gate, got up the hill and 
asperous way, which leadeth unto the house 
of sanity ; or taken that purifying potion from 
the hand of sincere erudition, which may send 
thee clear and pure away unto a virtuous and 
happy life. 

In this virtuous voyage of thy life hull not Milton, 
about like the ark, without the use of rudder, LTstflis^, 
mast, or sail, and bound for no port. Let 
not disappointment cause despondency, nor 
difficulty despair. Think not that you are 

1 The Pinax, or tablet, of Cebes (a Theban philosopher), 
in which the life of man is represented in a beautiful 
allegory. 



128 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

sailing from Lima to Manilla, when you may 
fasten up the rudder, and sleep before the 
wind ; but expect rough seas, flaws, and con- 
trary blasts : and 'tis well, if by many cross 
tacks and veerings, you arrive at the port; 
for we sleep in lions' skins in our progress 
unto virtue, and we slide not but climb unto 
it. 

Sit not down in the popular forms and 
common level of virtues. Offer not only 
peace-offerings but holocausts unto God : 
where all is due make no reserve, and cut not 
a cummin-seed with the Almighty : to serve 
him singly to serve ourselves, were too partial 
a piece of piety, not like to place us in the 
illustrious mansions of glory. 
A triumph II Rest not in an ovation ^ but a triumph 

(not ovation) . n i, • 

over thy ovcr thy passions. Let anger walk hanging 

passions. down the head ; let malice go manacled, and 

envy fettered after thee. Behold within thee 

the long train of thy trophies, not without 

thee. Make the quarrelling Lapithytes sleep, 

and Centaurs within lie quiet. Chain up 

the unruly legion of thy breast. Lead thine 

own captivity captive, and be Caesar within 

thyself. 

Adjourn not III. He that is chaste and continent not 

thy chastity. |.q impair his strength, or honest for fear of 

contagion, will hardly be heroically virtuous. 

Adjourn not this virtue until that temper 

when Cato could lend out his wife, and 

impotent satyrs write satires upon lust; but 

be chaste in thy flaming days, when Alexander 

dared not trust his eyes upon the fair sisters 

1 Ovation, a petty and minor kind of triumph. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 129 

of Darius, and when so many think there is 
DO other way but Origen's.^ 

IV. Show thy art in honesty, and lose not Be tem- 
thy virtue by the bad managery of it. Be p^^^^^' 
temperate and sober; not to preserve your 
body in an ability for wanton ends; not to 
avoid the infamy of common transgressors 
that way, and thereby to hope to expiate or 
palliate obscure and closer vices ; not to spare 
your purse, nor simply to enjoy health ; but, 

in one word, that thereby you may truly serve 
God, which every sickness will tell you you to serve God 
cannot well do without health. The sick ^"^"^^ 
man's sacrifice is but a lame oblation. Pious 
treasures, laid up in healthful days, plead for 
sick non-performances ; without which we 
must needs look back with anxiety upon the 
lost opportunities of health; and may have 
cause rather to envy than pity the ends of 
penitent publick sufferers, who go with health- 
ful prayers unto the last scene of their lives, 
and in the integrity of their faculties return*Ecci. xii. 7. 
their spirit unto God that gave it. 

V. Be charitable before wealth make thee Charity. 
covetous, and lose not the glory of the mite. St. Mark 
If riches increase, let thy mind hold pace with ^"' '^'' ^^^' 
them ; and think it not enough to be liberal, 

but munificent. Though a cup of cold water St. Matt. 
from some hand may not be without its reward, ^' ^^' 
yet stick not thou for wine and oil for the St. Luke 
wounds of the distressed ; and treat the poor, "" 34- 
as our Saviour did the multitude, to the s.^- J°^" 
reliques of some baskets. Diffuse thy bene- Diffuse thy 
ficence early, and while thy treasures call thee early^""^^ 
1 Who is said to have mutilated himself. 
I 



130 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

master ; there may be an Atropos of thy for- 
tunes before that of thy life, and thy wealth 
cut off before that hour, when all men shall 
be poor : for the justice of death looks equally 
Odyss. upon the dead, and Charon expects no more 

xvui. 233. fj.Qjji Alexander than from Irus. 
give largely, VI. G'lve 7iot Only unto seven, bid also unto 
^^ ^ ^'. eight, that is, unto more than many. Though 
s '^'^L k ^ *^ S^^^ ^^"^^ every one that asketh may seem 
vi.'so. severe advice, yet give thou also before asking ; 

that is, where want is silently clamorous, and 
men's necessities not their tongues do loudly 
call for thy mercies. For though sometimes 
necessitousness be dumb, or misery speak not 
out, yet true charity is sagacious, and will find 
out hints for beneficence. Acquaint thyself 
with the physiognomy of want, and let the 
dead colours and first lines of necessity suffice 
to tell thee there is an object for thy bounty. 
Spare not where thou canst not easily be 
prodigal, and fear not to be undone by mercy ; 
Prov. xix. 17. for since he who hath pity on the poor lendeth 
unto the Almighty reivarder, who observes no 
ides but every day for his payments, charity 
becomes pious usury, Christian liberality the 
most thriving industry ; and what we adven- 
ture in a cockboat may return in a carrack 
Eccl. xi. 1. unto us. He who thus casts his bread upon 
the water shall surely find it again; for though 
V rr. it falleth to the bottom, it sinks but like the 

2 Kmgs _' ^ 

vi. 5-7- axe 01 the prophet, to arise again unto nim. 

The covetous VII. If avarice be thy vice, yet make it not 

themsefves°; ^^7 punishment. Miserable men commiserate 

not themselves, bowelless unto others, and 

merciless unto their own bowels. Let the 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 131 

fruition of things bless the possession of them, 
and think it more satisfaction to live richly 
than die rich. For since thy good works, not Rev. xiv. 13. 
thy goods, will follow thee : since wealth is an 
appurtenance of life, and no dead man is rich ; 
to famish in plenty, and live poorly to die 
rich, were a multiplying improvement in mad- 
ness, and use upon use in folly. 

VIII. Trust not to the omnipotency of gold, 

and say not unto it. Thou art my coiifidence. 24-2^.''^'' 
Kiss not thy hand to that terrestrial sun, nor 
bore thy ear unto its servitude. A slave unto Ex. xxi. 6. 
mammon makes no servant unto God. Covet- ^J; ^^^^' 
ousness cracks the sinews of faith ; numbs the live but unto 

1 . /. . 1 . 1 1 one world. 

apprehension 01 anythmg above sense; and, 
only affected with the certainty of things pre- 
sent, makes a peradventure of things to come ; 
lives but unto one world, nor hopes but fears 
another; makes their own death sweet unto 
others, bitter unto themselves ; brings formal 
sadness, scenical mourning, and no wet eyes 
at the grave. 

IX. Persons liffhtly dipt, not grained in Be grained 

1. j.iii- J in virtue, not 

generous honesty, are but pale m goodness, ughtiy dipt. 
and faint-hued in integrity. But be thou 
what thou virtuously art, and let not the 
ocean wash away thy tincture. Stand mag- 
netically upon that axis, where prudent sim- 
plicity hath fixt thee ; and let no attraction 
invert the poles of thy honesty. That vice 
may be uneasy and even monstrous unto thee, 
let iterated good acts and long-confirmed 
habits make virtue almost natural, or a second 
nature in thee. Since virtHous superstruc- 
tions have commonly generous foundations. 



132 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

dive into thy inclinations, and early discover 
what nature bids thee to be or tells thee thou 
mayst be. They who thus timely descend 
into themselves, and cultivate the good seeds 
which nature hath set in them, prove not 
shrubs but cedars in their generation. And 
to be in the form of the best of the bad or the 
worst of the good,^ will be no satisfaction unto 
them. 
Plain virtue. X. Make not the consequence of virtue the 
by-end"? ends thereof. Be not beneficent for a name 
or cymbal of applause ; nor exact and just in 
commerce for the advantages of trust and 
credit, which attend the reputation of true 
and punctual dealing : for these rewards, 
though unsought for, plain virtue will bring 
with her. To have other by-ends in good 
actions sours laudable performances, which 
must have deeper roots, motives, and instiga- 
tions, to give them the stamp of virtues. 
Law of thy XI. Let not the law of thy country be the 
tS^^uiira ^^^' ultra of thy honesty ; nor think that always 
of thy good enough which the law will make good. 

onesty. Narrow not the law of charity, equity, mercy. 
Join gospel righteousness with legal right. 
Be not a mere Gamaliel in the faith, but let 
the sermon in the mount be thy Targum unto 
the law of Sinai. 
Morality not XII. Livc by old cthicks and the classical 
ambulatory. J.^lgs ^f houcsty. Put no ucw uamcs or notions 
upon authentick virtues and vices. Think not 
that morality is ambulatory ; that vices in one 
age are not vices in another ; or that virtues, 
which are under the everlasting seal of right 
1 Optimi maZorum, pessimi bonorum. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 133 

reason, may be stamped by opinion. And 
therefore, though vicious times invert the No new 
opinions of things, and set up a new ethicks *^ '*^ ^' 
against virtue, yet hold thou unto old morality ; 
and rather than follow a multitude to do evil, Ex. xxiii. 2. 
stand like Pompey's Pillar conspicuous by 
thyself, and single in integrity. And since 
the worst of times afford imitable examples of 
virtue ; since no deluge of vice is like to be 
so general but more than eight will escape ; 
eye well those heroes who have held their 
heads above water, who have touched pitch Eccius. 
and not been defiled, and in the common con- ^"'' ^* 
tagion have remained uncorrupted. 

XIII. Let age, not envy, draw wrinkles on Envy an 
thy cheeks; be content to be envied, but depravity. 
envy not. Emulation may be plausible and 
indignation allowable, but admit no treaty 

with that passion which no circumstance can 
make good. A displacency at the good of 
others because they enjoy it, though not un- 
worthy of it, is an absurd depravity, sticking 
fast unto corrupted nature, and often too hard 
for humility and charity, the great suppressors 
of envy. This surely is a lion not to be 
strangled but by Hercules himself, or the 
highest stress of our minds, and an atom 
of that power which suhdueth all things unto Phil. iii. 21. 
itself. 

XIV. Owe not thy humility unto humilia- Humility, 
tion from adversity, but look humbly down SumiSion. 
in that state when others look upwards upon 

thee. Think not thy own shadow longer than 
that of others, nor delight to take the altitude 
of thyself. Be patient in the age of pride. 



134 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



Juv. Sat. 
xiii. 185. 



Forgiveness 
to be total. 
Eph. iv. 26. 



Charity the 

crowning 

grace. 



Vide Arist. 
Eth. iv. 7. 



when men live by short intervals of reason 
under the dominion of humour and passion, 
when it 's in the power of every one to trans- 
form thee out of thyself, and run thee into 
the short madness. If you cannot imitate Job, 
yet come not short of Socrates, and those 
patient pagans who tired the tongues of their 
enemies, while they perceived they spit their 
malice at brazen walls and statues. 

XV. Let not the sun in Capricorn ^ go down 
upon thy wrath, but write thy wrongs in ashes. 
Draw the curtain of night upon injuries, shut 
them up in the tower of oblivion,^ and let 
them be as though they had not been. To 
forgive our enemies, yet hope that God will 
punish them, is not to forgive enough. To 
forgive them ourselves, and not to pray God 
to forgive them, is a partial piece of charity. 
Forgive thine enemies totally, and without any 
reserve that however God will revenge thee. 

XVI. While thou so hotly disclaimest the 
Devil, be not guilty of diabolism. Fall not 
into one name with that unclean spirit, nor 
act his nature whom thou so much abhorrest ; 
that is, to accuse, calumniate, backbite, 
whisper, detract, or sinistrously interpret 
others ; degenerous depravities, and narrow- 
minded vices, not only below St. Paul's noble 
Christian but Aristotle's true gentleman. 
Trust not with some that the Epistle of St. 

1 Even when the days are shortest. 

2 Alluding unto the tower of oblivion mentioned by 
Procopius, which was the name of a tower of imprison- 
ment among the Persians ; whoever was put therein was 
as it were buried alive, and it was death for any but to 
name him. 



ames 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 135 

James is apocryphal, and so read with less 
fear that stabbing truth, that in company g^ j^ 
with this vice thy religion is in vain. Moses i. 26. 
broke the tables without breaking of the law ; Ex. xxxii. 19. 
but where charity is broke, the law itself is 
shattered, which cannot be whole without 
love, which is the fuljillitig of it. Look humbly ^9.™- 
upon thy virtues ; and though thou art rich in 
some, yet think thyself poor and naked with- 
out that crowning grace, which thinketh no evil, ^ ^°^- ^"'• 
which envieth not, which beareth, hopeth, helieveth, 
endureth all things. With these sure graces, 
while busy tongues are crying out for a drop St. Luke 
of cold water, mutes may be in happiness, ^^'' ^^' 
and sing the trisagion in heaven. Rev. iv. 8. 

XVI L However thy understanding may Fasten the 
waver in the theories of true and false, yet [JJy ^nff 
fasten the rudder of thy will, steer straight steer straight 
unto good and fall not foul on evil. Imagina- "" ° ^°° ' 
tion is apt to rove, and conjecture to keep no 
bounds. Some have run out so far, as to fancy 
the stars might be but the light of the crystal- 
line heaven shot through perforations on the 
bodies of the orbs. Others more ingeniously 
doubt whether there hath not been a vast 
tract of land in the Atlantick Ocean, which 
earthquakes and violent causes have long ago 
devoured. Speculative misapprehensions may 
be innocuous, but immorality pernicious ; 
theoretical mistakes and physical deviations 
may condemn our judgments, not lead us into 
judgment. But perversity of will, immoral 
and sinful enormities walk with Adraste and 
Nemesis at their backs, pursue us unto judg- 
ment, and leave us viciously miserable. 



vices. 



136 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

d'fian^'^^^ XVIII. Bid early defiance unto those vices 

thy rooted which are of thine inward family, and having 
a root in thy temper plead a right and pro- 
priety in thee. Raise timely batteries against 
those strongholds built upon the rock of 
nature, and make this a great part of the 
militia of thy life. Delude not thyself into 
iniquities from participation or community, 
which abate the sense but not the obliquity 
of them. To conceive sins less or less of sins, 
because others also transgress, were morally to 
commit that natural fallacy of man, to take 
comfort from society, and think adversities 
less because others also suffer them. The 
politick nature of vice must be opposed by 
policy; and, therefore, wiser honesties project 
and plot against it : wherein, notwithstanding, 
we are not to rest in generals, or the trite 
stratagems of art. That may succeed with 
one, which may prove successless with another : 
there is no community or commonweal of 
virtue : every man must study his own 
economy, and adapt such rules unto the 
figure of himself. 

Besubstanti- XIX. Be Substantially great in thyself. 

a ygrea , ^^^ Hiorc than thou appcarest unto others; 
and let the world be deceived in thee, as 
they are in the lights of heaven. Hang early 
plummets upon the heels of pride, and let 
ambition have but an epicycle and narrow 
circuit in thee. Measure not thyself by thy 
morning shadow, but by the extent of thy 
grave : and reckon thyself above the earth, by 
the line thou must be contented with under it. 
Spread not into boundless expansions either 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 137 

of designs or desires. Think not that mankind 
liveth but for a few ; and that the rest are 
born but to serve those ambitions, which make 
but flies of men and wildernesses of whole 
nations. Swell not into vehement actions 
which embroil and confound the earth ; but 
be one of those violent ones which force the St. Matt. 
kingdom of heaven. If thou must needs rule, ^'" "' 
be Zeno's king, and enjoy that empire which 
every man gives himself. He who is thus his thine own 
own monarch contentedly sways the sceptre '"°"^'^^- 
of himself, not envying the glory of crowned 
heads and elohims of the earth. Could the 
world unite in the practice of that despised 
train of virtues, which the divine ethicks of our 
Saviour hath so inculcated unto us, the furious 
face of things must disappear ; Eden would be 
yet to be found, and the angels might look 
down, not with pity, but joy upon us. 

XX. Though the quickness of thine ear Be deaf to 
were able to reach the noise of the moon, Srsr"*^ 
which some think it raaketh in its rapid revo- 
lution ; though the number of thy ears should 
equal Argus his eyes ; yet stop them all with 
the wise man's wax, and be deaf unto the Hom. Odyss. 
suggestions of tale-bearers, calumniators, pick- ^"* ^^^* 
thank or malevolent delators, who, while 
quiet men sleep, sowing the tares of discord St. Matt. 
and division, distract the tranquillity of charity ^^ ' ^ * 
and all friendly society. These are the St. James 
tongues that set the world on fire, cankers of "'" ^' 
reputation, and like that of Jonas his gourd, j^^^^j^ j^ 
wither a good name in a night. Evil spirits 6, 7. 
may sit still, while these spirits walk about thty relieve 
and perform the business of hell. To speak ^ ^ ^^^" 



138 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



Annihilate 
not God's 
mercies by 



more strictly, our corrupted hearts are the 
factories of the devil, which may be at work 
without his presence : for when that circum- 
venting spirit hath drawn malice, envy, and 
all unrighteousness unto well-rooted habits in 
his disciples, iniquity then goes on upon its 
own legs ; and if the gate of hell were shut 
up for a time, vice would still be fertile and 
produce the fruits of hell. Thus when God 
forsakes us, Satan also leaves us : for such 
offenders he looks upon as sure and sealed 
up, and his temptations then needless unto 
them. 

XXI. Annihilate not the mercies of God by 
the oblivion of ingratitude ; for oblivion is a 

ingratitude, kjnd of annihilation ; and for things to be as 
though they had not been, is like unto never 
being. Make not thy head a grave, but a 
repository of God's mercies. Though thou 
hadst the memory of Seneca or Simonides, 
and conscience the punctual memorist within 
us, yet trust not to thy remembrance in 
things which need phylacteries. Register 
not only strange, but merciful occurrences. 
Let Ephemerides, not Olympiads,^ give thee 
account of his mercies : let thy diaries stand 
thick with dutiful mementoes and asterisks of 
acknowledgment. And to be complete and 
forget nothing, date not his mercy from thy 
nativity ; look beyond the world, and before 
the era of Adam. 

XXII. Paint not the sepulchre of thyself, 
and strive not to beautify thy corruption. Be 



Conscience 
will shorten 
the great 



1 Particular diaries of each day, not abstracts compre- 
hending several years. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 139 

not an advocate for thy vices, nor call for 
many hour-glasses to justify thy imperfections. 
Think not that always good which thou 
thinkest thou canst always make good, nor 
that concealed which the sun doth not be- 
hold : that which the sun doth not now see, 
will be visible when the sun is out, and the 
stars are fallen from heaven. Meanwhile 
there is no darkness unto conscience ; which 
can see without light, and in the deepest 
obscurity give a clear draught of things, which 
the cloud of dissimulation hath concealed 
from all eyes. There is a natural standing 
court within us, examining, acquitting, and 
condemning at the tribunal of ourselves ; 
wherein iniquities have their natural tketas^ 
and no nocent is absolved by the verdict of 
himself. And therefore, although our trans- 
gressions shall be tried at the last bar, the 
process need not be long : for the judge of all 
knoweth all, and every man will nakedly 
know himself; and when so few are like to 
plead 72ot guilty, the assize must soon have an 
end. 

XXIII. Comply with some humours, bear Flattery is 
with others, but serve none. Civil com- ^ ^"^^ ^"^^ 
placency consists with decent honesty; flattery 
is a juggler, and no kin unto sincerity. But 
while thou maintainest the plain path, and Fall not into 
scornest to flatter others, fall not into self- Jfonr'^"^^' 
adulation, and become not thine own parasite. 
Be deaf unto thyself, and be not betrayed at 
home. Self-credulity, pride, and levity lead 

1 d, — a theta inscribed \ipon the judge's tessera was a 
mark for death. 



140 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

unto self-idolatry. There is no Damocles 
like unto self-opinion, nor any syren to our 
own fawning conceptions. To magnify our 
minor things, or hug ourselves in our appari- 
tions ; to afford a credulous ear unto the 
clawing suggestions of fancy ; to pass our days 
in painted mistakes of ourselves ; and though 
we behold our own blood, to think ourselves 
the sons of Jupiter; are blandishments of 
self-love, worse than outward delusion. By 
this imposture, wise men sometimes are mis- 
taken in their elevation, and look above 
themselves. And fools, which are antipodes 
unto the wise, conceive themselves to be but 
their perioeci, and in the same parallel with 
them. 
Study the XXIV. Be not a Hercules furens abroad, and 

thyself. a poltroon within thyself. To chase our 
enemies out of the field, and be led captive 
by our vices ; to beat down our foes, and fall 
down to our concupiscences ; are solecisms in 
moral schools, and no laurel attends them. 
To well manage our affections, and wild horses 
of Plato, are the highest circenses : and the 
noblest digladiation is in the theatre of our- 
selves ; for therein our inward antagonists, 
not only like common gladiators, with ordin- 
ary weapons and downright blows make at us, 
but also, like retiary and laqueary combatants, 
with nets, frauds, and entanglements fall 
upon us. Weapons for such combats are not 
to be forged at Liparar^ Vulcan's art doth 
nothing in this internal militia : wherein not 

1 The Liparsean Islands being volcanoes, were fabled to 
contain the forges of the Cyclops. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 141 

the armour of Achilles, but the armature of 
St. Paul, gives the glorious day, and triumphs Eph. vi. n, 
not leading up into capitols, but up into the ^^^' 
highest heavens. And, therefore, while so 
many think it the only valour to command 
and master others, study thou the dominion 
of thyself, and quiet thine own commotions. 
Let right reason be thy Lycurgus, and lift up 
thy hand unto the law of it : move by the 
intelligences of the superior faculties, not by 
the rapt of passion, nor merely by that of 
temper and constitution. They who are 
merely carried on by the wheel of such in- 
clinations, without the hand and guidance of 
sovereign reason, are but the automatons part 
of mankind, rather lived than living, or at 
least underliving themselves. 

XXV. Let not fortune, which hath no name Fortune hath 
in Scripture, have any in thy divinity. Let scriptlc 
providence, not chance, have the honour of 
thy acknowledgments, and be thy CEdipus in 
contingencies. Mark well the paths and 
winding ways thereof; but be not too wise in 
the construction, or sudden in the application. 
The hand of providence writes often by 
abbreviatures, hieroglyphicks or short charac- 
ters, which, like the laconism on the wall, are Dan. v. 
not to be made out but by a hint or key from 
that spirit which indited them. Leave future 
occurrences to their uncertainties, think that 
which is present thy own ; and, since 'tis 
easier to foretell an eclipse than a foul day at 
some distance, look for little regular below. 
Attend with patience the uncertainty of 
things, and what lieth yet unexerted in the 



name m 
ture. 



142 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

chaos of futurity. The uncertainty and ignor- 
ance of things to come, makes the world new 
unto us by unexpected emergencies ; whereby 
we pass not our days in the trite road of 
affairs affording no novity ; for the novehzing 
spirit of man lives by variety, and the new 
faces of things. 
Be content XXVI. Though a Contented mind enlargcth 
^ * the dimension of little things ; and unto some 
'tis wealth enough not to be poor ; and others 
are well content, if they be but rich enough 
to be honest, and to give every man his due : 
yet fall not into that obsolete affectation of 
bravery, to throw away thy money, and to 
reject all honours or honourable stations in 
this courtly and splendid world. Old gene- 
rosity is superannuated, and such contempt 
of the world out of date. No man is now 
like to refuse the favour of great ones, or be 
content to say unto princes. Stand out of my 
sufi. And if any there be of such antiquated 
resolutions, they are not like to be tempted 
out of them by great ones ; and 'tis fair if 
they escape the name of hypochondriacks 
from the genius of latter times, unto whom 
contempt of the world is the most contempt- 
ible opinion ; and to be able, like Bias, to 
carry all they have about them were to be the 
eighth wise man. However, the old tetrick 
philosophers looked always with indignation 
upon such a face of things ; and observing the 
unnatural current of riches, power, and honour 
in the world, and withal the imperfection and 
demerit of persons often advanced unto them, 
were tempted unto angry opinions, that affairs 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 143 

were ordered more by stars than reason, and 
that things went on rather by lottery than 
election. 

XXVII. If thy vessel be but small in the 
ocean of this world, if meanness of possessions 
be thy allotment upon earth, forget not those 
virtues which the great Disposer of all bids 
thee to entertain from thy quality and con- 
dition ; that is, submission, humility, content 
of mind, and industry. Content may dwell J°"[f Jj ^f ^ 
in all stations. To be low, but above con- stations. 
tempt, may be high enough to be happy. 
But many of low degree may be higher than 
computed, and some cubits above the common 
commensuration ; for in all states virtue gives 
qualifications and allowances, which make out 
defects. Rough diamonds are sometimes 
mistaken for pebbles ; and meanness may be 
rich in accomplishments, which riches in vain 
desire. If our merits be above our stations, 
if our intrinsical value be greater than what 
we go for, or our value than our valuation, 
and if we stand higher in God's, than in the 
censor's book ; ^ it may make some equitable 
balance in the inequalities of this world, and 
there may be no such vast chasm or gulf 
between disparities as common measures deter- 
mine. The divine eye looks upon high and low 
differently from that of man. They who seem 
to stand upon Olympus, and high mounted 
unto our eyes, may be but in the valleys, and 
low ground unto His ; for he looks upon those 
as highest who nearest approach his divinity, 

1 The book in which the census, or account of every 
man's estate was registered among the Romans. 



144 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

and upon those as lowest who are farthest 
from it. 
Dross in all XXVIII. When thou lookcst upon the im- 
tempers; perfections of others, allow one eye for what 
t'^taiT^bad^ is laudable in them, and the balance they have 
from some excellency, which may render them 
considerable. While we look with fear or 
hatred upon the teeth of the viper, we may 
behold his eye with love. In venomous 
natures something may be amiable ; poisons 
afford antipoisons : nothing is totally, or alto- 
gether uselessly bad. Notable virtues are 
sometimes dashed with notorious vices, and in 
some vicious tempers have been found illustrious 
acts of virtue; which makes such observable 
worth in some actions of King Demetrius, 
Antonius, and Ahab, as are not to be found in 
the same kind in Aristides, Numa, or David. 
Constancy, generosity, clemency, and liberality 
have been highly conspicuous in some persons 
not marked out in other concerns for example 
or imitation. But since goodness is exemplary 
in all, if others have not our virtues, let us not 
be wanting in theirs ; nor, scorning them for 
their vices whereof we are free, be condemned 
by their virtues wherein we are deficient. 
There is dross, alloy, and embasement in all 
human tempers ; and he flieth without wings, 
who thinks to find ophir or pure metal in any. 
For perfection is not, like light, centred in any 
one body ; but, like the dispersed seminalities 
of vegetables at the creation, scattered through 
the whole mass of the earth, no place pro- 
ducing all, and almost all some. So that 'tis 
well, if a perfect man can be made out of 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 145 

many men, and, to the perfect eye of God, 
even out of mankind. Time, which perfects 
some things, imperfects also others. Could 
we intimately apprehend the ideated man, and 
as he stood in the intellect of God upon the 
first exertion by creation, we might more 
narrowly comprehend our present degenera- 
tion, and how widely we are fallen from the 
pure exemplar and idea of our nature : for 
after this corruptive elongation from a 
primitive and pure creation, we are almost lost 
in degeneration ; and Adam hath not only 
fallen from his Creator, but we ourselves from 
Adam, our Tycho and primary generator. 

XXIX. Quarrel not rashly with adversities Overlook not 
not yet understood ; and overlook not the ofrerTbo^und 
mercies often bound up in them : for we con- "PJ" adver- 
sider not sufficiently the good of evils, nor 
fairly compute the mercies of providence in 
things afflictive at first hand. The famous 
Andreas Doria being invited to a feast by 
Aloysio Fieschi, with design to kill him, just 
the night before fell mercifully into a fit of the 
gout, and so escaped that mischief. When 
Cato intended to kill himself, from a blow Plutarch, 
which he gave his servant, who would not ^^*'^^°'*^ 
reach his sword unto him, his hand so swelled 
that he had much ado to effect his design. 
Hereby any one but a resolved stoick might 
have taken a fair hint of consideration, and 
that some merciful genius would have con- 
trived his preservation. To be sagacious in 
such intercurrences is not superstition, but 
wary and pious discretion; and to contemn 
such hints were to be deaf unto the speaking 

K 



146 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

hand of God, wherein Socrates and Cardan 
would hardly have been mistaken. 
Pass not the XXX. Break not open the gate of destruc- 
sin. ^^°^ ° tion, and make no haste or bustle unto ruin. 
Post not heedlessly on unto the ?io?i ultra of 
folly, or precipice of perdition. Let vicious 
ways have their tropicks and deflexions, and 
swim in the waters of sin but as in the 
Asphaltick Lake, though smeared and defiled, 
not to sink to the bottom. If thou hast dipt 
thy foot in the brink, yet venture not over 
Rubicon. Run not into extremities from 
whence there is no regression. In the vicious 
ways of the world it mercifully falleth out that 
we become not extempore wicked, but it 
taketh some time and pains to undo ourselves. 
Homer, We fall not from virtue, like Vulcan from 
Iliad US90. heavcn, in a day. Bad dispositions require 
some time to grow into bad habits ; bad habits 
must undermine good, and often-repeated acts 
make us habitually evil : so that by gradual 
depravations, and while we are but staggeringly 
evil, we are not left without parentheses of con- 
Merciful siderations, thoughtful rebukes, and merciful 
may recalf "^ interventions, to recall us unto ourselves. For 
us. the wisdom of God hath methodized the 

course of things unto the best advantage of 
goodness, and thinking considerators overlook 
not the tract thereof. 
Men and XXXI. Since men and women have their 

CoSnd proper virtues and vices ; and even twins of 
not their different sexes have not only distinct coverings 
in the womb, but differing qualities and 
virtuous habits after; transplace not their 
proprieties, and confound not their distinctions. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 147 

Let masculine and feminine acomplishments 
shine in their proper orbs, and adorn their 
respective subjects. However, unite not the 
vices of both sexes in one ; be not monstrous 
ih iniquity, nor hermaphroditically vicious. 

XXXII. If generous honesty, valour, and^^J'"°' 
plain dealing be the cognisance of thy family, merits of thy 
or characteristick of thy country, hold fast such shfnrbyVhy 
inclinations sucked in with thy first breath, own. 

and which lay in the cradle with thee. Fall 
not into transforming degenerations, which 
under the old name create a new nation. Be 
not an alien in thine own nation ; bring not 
Orontes into Tiber : learn the virtues not Jyv. Sat. 
the vices of thy foreign neighbours, and '" ^" 
make thy imitation by discretion not con- 
tagion. Feel something of thyself in the 
noble acts of thy ancestors, and find in thine 
own genius that of thy predecessors. Rest 
not under the expired merits of others, shine 
by those of thy own. Flame not like the 
central fire which enlighteneth no eyes, which 
no man seeth, and most men think there's no 
such thing to be seen. Add one ray unto the 
common lu? >e ; add not only to the number 
but the note of thy generation ; and prove not 
a cloud but an asterisk in thy region. 

XXXIII. Since thou hast an alarum in thy Dull not 
breast, which tells thee thou hast a living arys^iSoth. 
spirit in thee above two thousand times in an 

hour; dull not away thy days in slothful 
supinity and the tediousness of doing nothing. 
To strenuous minds there is an inquietude in 
over quietness, and no laboriousness in labour ; 
and to tread a mile after the slow pace of a 



148 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

snail, or the heavy measures of the lazy of 
Brazilia, were a most thing penance, and 
worse than a race of some furlongs at the 
Olympicks. The rapid courses of the heavenly 
bodies are rather imitable by our thoughts, 
than our corporeal motions; yet the solemn 
motions of our lives amount unto a greater 
measure than is commonly apprehended. Some 
few men have surrounded the globe of the 
earth ; yet many in the set locomotions and 
movements of their days have measured the 
circuit of it, and twenty thousand miles have 
been exceeded by them. Move circumspectly 
not meticulously, and rather carefully solicitous 
than anxiously solicitudinous. Think not there 
Prov. is a lion in the way, nor walk with leaden 

xxii. 13. sandals in the paths of goodness ; but in all 
virtuous motions let prudence determine thy 
measures. Strive not to run, like Hercules, 
a furlong in a breath : festination may prove 
precipitation ; deliberating delay may be wise 
cunctation, and slowness no slothfulness. 
Busy not thy XXXIV. Siucc virtuous actions have their 
best member q^^ trumpets, and, without any noise from 
comium of thysclf, will havc their resound abroad ; busy 
thyself. ^^^ |.j^y l^gg^ member in the encomium of thy- 
self Praise is a debt we owe unto the virtues 
of others, and due unto our own from all 
whom malice hath not made mutes, or envy 
struck dumb. Fall not, however, into the 
common prevaricating way of self-commenda- 
tion and boasting, by denoting the imper- 
fections of others. He who discommendeth 
others obliquely coramendeth himself. He 
who whispers their infirmities, proclaims his 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 149 

own exemption from them ; and, consequently, 
says,Ia7n not as this publican, or hie niger, whom St. Luke 
I talk of. Open ostentation and loud vain- hor. ^Sat. i. 
glory is more tolerable than this obliquity, as »v. 85. 
but containing some froth, no ink ; as but 
consisting of a personal piece of folly, nor 
complicated with uncharitableness. Super- 
fluously we seek a precarious applause abroad ; 
every good man hath his plaudite within him- 
self; and though his tongue be silent, is not 
without loud cymbals in his breast. Conscience 
will become his panegyrist, and never forget 
to crown and extol him unto himself. 

XXXV. Bless not thyself only that thou Modesty 
wert born in Athens ; but, among thy multi- a'^SiSwide 
plied acknowledgments, lift up one hand g/jjjj,j^cyi 
unto heaven, that thou wert born of honest for honest 
parents ; that modesty, humility, patience, p^^^'^- 
and veracity, lay in the same egg, and came 
into the world with thee. From such founda- 
tions thou mayst be happy in a virtuous 
precocity, and make an early and long walk in 
goodness ; so mayst thou more naturally feel 
the contrariety of vice unto nature, and resist 
some by the antidote of thy temper. As 
charity covers, so modesty preventeth a multi- 
tude of sins ; withholding from noonday vices 
and brazen-browed iniquities, from sinning on 
the house-top, and painting our fellows with 
the rays of the sun. Where this virtue 
reigneth, though vice may show its head, 
it cannot be in its glory. Where shame of 
sin sets, look not for virtue to arise ; for when 
modesty taketh wing, Astraea ^ goes soon after. 
1 Astrsea, goddess of justice and consequently of all virtue. 



150 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

Soldiery: XXXVI. The heroical vein of mankind 

ve!n.^^^°*^^ runs much in the soldiery, and courageous 
part of the world ; and in that form we 
oftenest find men above men. History is full 
of the gallantry of that tribe ; and when we 
read their notable acts, we easily find what a 
difference there is between a life in Plutarch 
and in Laertius. Where true fortitude dwells, 
loyalty, bounty, friendship, and fidelity may 
be found. A man may confide in persons 
constituted for noble ends, who dare do and 
suffer, and who have a hand to burn for their 
country and their friend. Small and creeping 
things are the product of petty souls. He is 
like to be mistaken, who makes choice of a 
covetous man for a friend, or relieth upon the 
The true rccd of narrow and poltroon friendship. Piti- 
gelukman. ful things are only to be found in the cottages 
of such breasts ; but bright thoughts, clear 
deeds, constancy, fidelity, bounty, and gener- 
ous honesty are the gems of noble minds ; 
wherein (to derogate from none) the true 
heroic English gentleman hath no peer. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 151 



THE SECOND PART 

Punish not thyself with pleasure ; glut not thy ^y^g^^i^j^t^ 
sense with palative delights; nor revenge the pleasure; 
contempt of temperance by the penalty of 
satiety. Were there an age of delight or any 
pleasure durable, who would not honour 
Volupia ? but the race of delight is short, and 
pleasures have mutuable faces. The pleasures 
of one age are not pleasures in another, and 
their lives fall short of our own. Even in our 
sensual days, the strength of delight is in its Jj deUght\s 
seldomness or rarity, and sting in its satiety : in its seldom- 
mediocrity is its life, and immoderacy its "^^' 
confusion. The luxurious emperors of old 
inconsiderately satiated themselves with the 
dainties of sea and land, till wearied through 
all varieties, their refections became a study 
unto them, and they were fain to feed by in- 
vention : novices in true epicurism ! which, by 
mediocrity, paucity, quick and healthful ap- 
petite, makes delights smartly acceptable ; 
whereby Epicurus himself found Jupiter's 
brain ^ in a piece of Cytheridian cheese, and 
the tongues of nightingales in a dish of onions. 
Hereby healthful and temperate poverty hath 
the start of nauseating luxury ; unto whose 
clear and naked appetite every meal is a feast, 
and in one single dish the first course of 
1 Cerebrum Jovis, for a delicious bit. 



152 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



SUETON. 

Neron, 48. 



Metellus ; ^ who are cheaply hungry, and 
never lose their hunger, or advantage of a 
craving appetite, because obvious food con- 
tents it ; while Nero, half famished, could not 
feed upon a piece of bread, and, lingering 
after his snowed water, hardly got down an 
ordinary cup of calda.^ By such circumscrip- 
tions of pleasure the contemned philosophers 
reserved unto themselves the secret of delight, 
which the helluos of those days lost in their 
exorbitances. In vain we study delight ; it is 
at the command of every sober mind, and in 
every sense born with us : but nature, who 
teacheth us the rule of pleasure, instructeth 
also in the bounds thereof, and where its line 
expireth. And, therefore, temperate minds, 
not pressing their pleasures until the sting 
appeareth, enjoy their contentations content- 
edly, and without regret, and so escape the 
folly of excess, to be pleased unto displacency. 
Zoilism. II, Bring candid eyes unto the perusal of 

i^ps'^s^not to men's works, and let not Zoilism or detraction 
be too strictly blast well-intendcd labours. He that en- 
^^ ^^ ' dureth no faults in men's writings must only 
read his own, wherein, for the most part, all 
appeareth white. Quotation mistakes, inad- 
vertency, expedition, and human lapses, may 
make not only moles but warts in learned 
authors; who, notwithstanding, being judged 
by the capital matter, admit not of disparage- 
ment. I should unwillingly affirm that Cicero 
was but slightly versed in Homer, because in 

1 His riotous pontifical supper, the great variety where- 
at is to be seen in Macrobius [Saturnal iii. 13). 

2 Caldce gelidoeque minister. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 153 

his work^ De Gloria, he ascribed those verses 
unto Ajax, which were delivered by Hector. 
What if Plautus, in the acount of Hercules^ 
mistaketh nativity for conception ? Who 
would have mean thoughts of Apollinaris 
SidoniuSj who seems to mistake the river 
Tigris for Euphrates; and, though a good 
historian and learned bishop of Auvergne had 
the misfortune to be out in the story of David, 
making mention of him when the ark was sent 
back by the Philistines upon a cart ; which i Sam. vi. 
was before his time ? Though I have no great 
opinion of Machiavel's learning, yet I shall 
not presently say that he was but a novice in 
Roman history, because he was mistaken in 
placing Commodus after the Emperor Severus. 
Capital truths are to be narrowly eyed; col- 
lateral lapses and circumstantial deliveries not 
to be too strictly sifted. And if the substan- 
tial subject be well forged out, we need not 
examine the sparks which irregularly fly from 
it. 

III. Let well-weighed considerations, not Avoid dog- 
stiif and peremptory assumptions, guide thy well-weighed 
discourses, pen, and actions. To begin or tJ,ns gu'Sg 
continue our works like Trismegistus of old, 
Verum eerie verum atque verissimwn est,^ would 
sound arrogantly unto present ears in this 
strict inquiring age ; wherein, for the most 
part, 'probably and perhaps will hardly serve to 
mollify the spirit of captious contradictors. If 
Cardan saith that a parrot is a beautiful bird, 
Scaliger will set his wits to work to prove it 
a deformed animal. The compage of all 
1 In Tabula Smaragdina. 



154 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



Natural 
parts and 
good judg- 
ments rule 
the world. 



physical truths is not so closely jointed, but 
opposition may find intrusion ; nor always so 
closely maintained, as not to suffer attrition. 
Many positions seem quodlibetically consti- 
tuted, and, like a Delphian blade, will cut on 
both sides. Some truths seem almost false- 
hoods, and some falsehoods almost truths ; 
wherein falsehood and truth seem almost 
aequilibriously stated, and but a few grains of 
distinction to bear down the balance. Some 
have digged deep, yet glanced by the royal 
vein ; and a man may come unto the pericar- 
dium, but not the heart of truth. Besides, 
many things are known, as some are seen, that 
is by parallaxis, or at some distance from their 
true and proper beings, the superficial regard 
of things having a different aspect from their 
true and central natures. And this moves 
sober pens unto suspensory and timorous as- 
sertions, nor presently to obtrude them as 
Sibyl's leaves, which after-considerations may 
find to be but folious appearances, and not the 
central and vital interiors of truth. 

IV. Value the judicious, and let not mere 
acquests in minor parts of learning gain thy 
pre-existimation. 'Tis an unjust way of com- 
pute, to magnify a weak head for some Latin 
abilities ; and to undervalue a solid judgment, 
because he knows not the genealogy of Hector. 
When that notable king of France ^ would 
have his son to know but one sentence in 
Latin ; had it been a good one, perhaps it had 
been enough. Natural parts and good judg- 

1 Louis the Eleventh. Qui nescit dissimulare nescit 
regnare. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 155 

ments rule the world. States are not governed 
by ergotisms. Many have ruled well, who 
could not, perhaps, define a commonwealth ; 
and they who understand not the globe of the 
earth, command a great part of it. Where 
natural logick prevails not, artificial too often 
faileth. Where nature fills the sails, the 
vessel goes smoothly on ; and when judgment 
is the pilot, the insurance need not be high. 
W^hen industry builds upon nature, we may 
expect pyramids : where that foundation is 
wanting, the structure must be low. They do 
most, by books, who could do much without 
them ; and he that chiefly owes himself unto 
himself, is the substantial man. 

V. Let thy studies be free as thy thoughts Swell not 
and contemplations : but fly not only upon oniam'ing 
the wings of imagination; join sense unto by fruitless 

J .. . •, ,. , repetitions. 

reason, and experiment unto speculation, and 
so give life unto embryon truths, and verities 
yet in their chaos. There is nothing more 
acceptable unto the ingenious world, than this 
noble eluctation of truth ; wherein, against 
the tenacity of prejudice and prescription, 
this century now prevaileth. What libraries 
of new volumes after-times will behold, and 
in what a new world of knowledge the eyes 
of our posterity may be happy, a few ages 
may joyfully declare; and is but a cold 
thought unto those who cannot hope to be- 
hold this exantlation of truth, or that obscured 
virgin half out of the pit : which might make 
some content with a commutation of the time 
of their lives, and to commend the fancy of 
the Pythagorean metempsychosis ; whereby 



156 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

they might hope to enjoy this happiness in 
their third or fourth selves, and behold that 
in Pythagoras, which they now but foresee in 
Ovid, i^^/. Euphorbus. The world, which took but six 
day to make, is like to take six thousand to 
make out : meanwhile, old truths voted down 
begin to resume their places, and new ones 
arise upon us ; wherein there is no comfort in 
the happiness of Tully's Elysium,^ or any 
satisfaction from the ghosts of the ancients, 
who knew so little of what is now well known. 
Men disparage not antiquity, who prudently 
exalt new enquiries; and make not them the 
judges of truth, who were but fellow enquirers 
of it. Who can but magnify the endeavours 
of Aristotle, and the noble start which learn- 
ing had under him ; or less than pity the 
slender progression made upon such advan- 
tages, while many centuries were lost in re- 
petitions and transcriptions, sealing up the 
book of knowledge ? And, therefore, rather 
than to swell the leaves of learning by fruit- 
less repetitions, to sing the same song in all 
ages, nor adventure at essays beyond the 
attempt of others, many would be content 
that some would write like Helmont or Para- 
celsus ; and be willing to endure the mon- 
strosity of some opinions, for divers singular 
notions requiting such aberrations. 
Despair not VI. Dcspisc not the obliquitics of younger 
thing"^'^ ways, nor despair of better things whereof 
whereof there is yet no prospect. Who would imagine 
no"rospect. that Diogcnes, who in his younger days was a 

1 Who comforted himself that he should there converse 
with the old philosophers. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 157 

falsifier of money, should in the aftercourse of 
his life be so great a contemner of metal? 
Some negroes who believe the resurrection, 
think that they shall rise white.^ Even in 
this life, regeneration may imitate resurrec- 
tion ; our black and vitious tinctures may 
wear off, and goodness clothe us with candour. 
Good admonitions knock not always in vain. 
There will be signal examples of God's mercy, St. Luke 
and the angels must not want their charitable ''^' ^°' 
rejoices for the conversion of lost sinners. 
Figures of most angles do nearest approach 
unto circles, which have no angles at all. 
Some may be near unto goodness, who are 
conceived far from it ; and many things 
happen, not likely to ensue from any promises 
of antecedencies. Culpable beginnings have 
found commendable conclusions, and infamous 
courses pious retractations. Detestable sinners 
have proved exemplary converts on earth, 
and may be glorious in the apartment of Mary 
Magdalen in heaven. Men are not the same 
through all divisions of their ages : time, ex- 
perience, self-reflections, and God's mercies, 
make in some well-tempered minds a kind of 
translation before death, and men to diifer 
from themselves as well as from other persons. 
Hereof the old world aiforded many examples, 
to the infamy of latter ages, wherein men too 
often live by the rule of their inclinations ; 
so that, without any astral prediction, thejirst Seneca, 
day gives the last. Men are commonly as they ' ^ 
were : or rather, as bad dispositions run into 

1 Mandelslo's Travels. 



158 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



Gen. xviii. 
27-33- 



Speckled 
face of 
honesty in 
the world. 



worser habits^ the evening doth not crown, 
but sourly conclude the day. 

VII. If the Almighty will not spare us 
according to his merciful capitulation at 
Sodom ; if his goodness please not to pass 
over a great deal of bad for a small pittance 
of good, or to look upon us in the lump ; 
there is slender hope for mercy, or sound 
presumption of fulfilling half his will, either 
in persons or nations : they who excel in 
some virtues being so often defective in 
others ; few men driving at the extent and 
amplitude of goodness, but computing them- 
selves by their best parts, and others by their 
worst, are content to rest in those virtues 
which others commonly want. Which makes 
this speckled face of honesty in the world ; 
and which was the imperfection of the old 
philosophers and great pretenders unto virtue, 
who, well declining the gaping vices of in- 
temperance, incontinency, violence, and op- 
pression, were yet blindly peccant in iniqui- 
ties of closer faces, were envious, malicious, 
contemners, scoffers, censurers, and stuffed 
with vizard vices, no less depraving the 
ethereal particle and diviner portion of man, 
For envy, malice, hatred, are the qualities of 
Satan, close and dark like himself; and where 
such brands smoke, the soul cannot be white. 
Vice may be had at all prices ; expensive and 
costly iniquities, which make the noise, cannot 
be every man's sins : but the soul may be 
foully inquinated at a very low rate ; and a 
man may be cheaply vitious, to the perdition 
of himself. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 159 

VIII. Opinion rides upon the neck of Weigh not 

^- 1 . -t ^ thyself m 

reason ; and men are nappy, wise, or learned, the scales of 
according as that empress shall set them down ^^^^^^^ 
in the register of reputation. However, 
weigh not thyself in the scales of thy own 
opinion, but let the judgment of the judicious 
be the standard of thy merit. Self-estimation 
is a flatterer too readily entitling us unto 
knowledge and abilities, which others solicit- 
ously labour after, and doubtfully think they 
attain. Surely such confident tempers do pass 
their days in best tranquillity, who, resting in 
the opinion of their own abilities, are happily 
gulled by such contentation ; wherein pride, 
self-conceit, confidence, and opiniatrity, will 
hardly suffer any to complain of imperfection. 
To think themselves in the right, or all that Self-conceit 
right, or only that, which they do or think, high content. 
is a fallacy of high content ; though others 
laugh in their sleeves, and look upon them 
as in a deluded state of judgment : wherein, 
notwithstanding, 'twere but a civil piece of 
complacency to suffer them to sleep who 
would not wake, to let them rest in their 
securities, nor by dissent or opposition to 
stagger their contentments. 

IX. Since the brow speaks often true, since Physio- 
eyes and noses have tongues, and the counten- s"°™y- 
ance proclaims the heart and inclinations ; 

let observation so far instruct thee in physio- 
gnomical lines, as to be some rule for thy 
distinction, and guide for thy affection unto 
such as look most like men. Mankind, 
methinks, is comprehended in a few faces, if 
we exclude all visages which in any way 



160 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

Schemes of participate of symmetries and schemes of look 
common unto other animals. For as though 
man were the extract of the world, in whom 
all were m coagulato, which in their forms 
were ifi soluto and at extension; we often 
observe that men do most act those creatures, 
whose constitution, parts, and complexion, do 
most predominate in their mixtures. This is 
a corner stone in physiognomy, and holds 
some truth not only in particular persons but 
also in whole nations. There are, therefore, 
provincial faces, national lips and noses, which 
testify not only the natures of those countries, 
but of those which have them elsewhere. 
Thus we may make England the whole earth, 
dividing it not only into Europe, Asia, 
Africa, but the particular regions thereof; 
and may in some latitude affirm, that there 
are Egyptians, Scythians, Indians among us, 
who, though born in England, yet carry the 
faces and air of those countries, and are 
also agreeable and correspondent unto their 
natures. Faces look uniformly unto our eyes : 
how they appear unto some animals of a more 
piercing or differing sight, who are able to 
discover the inequalities, rubs, and hairiness 
of the skin, is not without good doubt : and, 
therefore, in reference unto man, Cupid is 
said to be blind. Affection should not be too 
sharp-eyed, and love is not to be made by 
magnifying glasses. If things were seen as 
they truly are, the beauty of bodies would be 
much abridged. And, therefore, the Wise 
Contriver hath drawn the pictures and out- 
sides of things softly and amiably unto the 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 161 

natural edge of our eyes, not leaving them 
able to discover those uncomely asperities^ 
which make oyster-shells in good faces, and 
hedgehogs even in Venus's moles. 

X. Court not felicity too far, and weary not Court not 
the favourable hand of fortune. Glorious far."^^ ^°° 
actions have their times, extent, and non 
ultras. To put no end unto attempts were to 
make prescription of successes, and to bespeak 
unhappiness at the last : for the line of our 
lives is drawn with white and black vicissi- 
tudes, wherein the extremes hold seldom one 
complexion. That Pompey should obtain the 
surname of Great at twenty-five years, that 
men in their young and active days should be 
fortunate and perform notable things, is no 
observation of deep wonder ; they having the 
strength of their fates before them, nor yet 
acted their parts in the world for which they 
were brought into it ; whereas men of years, 
matured for counsels and designs, seem to be 
beyond the vigour of their active fortunes, 
and high exploits of life, providentially or- 
dained unto ages best agreeable unto them. 
And, therefore, many brave men finding their 
fortune grow faint, and feeling its declination, 
have timely withdrawn themselves from great 
attempts, and so escaped the ends of mighty 
men, disproportionable to their beginnings. 
But magnanimous thoughts have so dimmed 
the eyes of many, that, forgetting the very vide 
essence of fortune, and the vicissitude ofS^'^^^- 
good and evil, they apprehend no bottom in 
felicity; and so have been still tempted on 
unto mighty actions, reserved for their de- 



162 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



affliction. 



structions. For fortune lays the plot of our 
adversities in the foundation of our felicities. 
It sharpens blessinff US in the first quadrate, to blast us 
more sharply in the last. And since in the 
highest felicities their lieth a capacity of the 
lowest miseries, she hath this advantage from 
our happiness to make us truly miserable : for 
to become acutely miserable we are to be first 
happy. Affliction smarts most in the most 
happy state, as having somewhat in it of 
Belisarius at beggar's bush, or Bajazet in the 
grate. And this the fallen angels severely 
understand; who have acted their first part 
in heaven, are made sharply miserable by 
transition, and more afflictively feel the con- 
trary state of hell. 

XI. Carry no careless eye upon the unex- 
pected scenes of things ; but ponder the acts 
of Providence in the public ends of great 
and notable men, set out unto the view of all 
for no common memorandums. The tragical 
exits and unexpected periods of some eminent 
persons, cannot but amuse considerate obser- 
vators ; wherein, notwithstanding, most men 
seem to see by extramission, without reception 
or self-reflection, and conceive themselves un- 
concerned by the fallacy of their own exemp- 
tion : whereas, the mercy of God hath singled 
out but few to be the signals of his justice, 
leaving the generality of mankind to the 
pedagogy of example. But the inadvertency 
of our natures not well apprehending this 
favourable method and merciful decimation, 
and that He showeth in some what others 
also deserve ; they entertain no sense of his 



Ponder the 
acts of 
Providence 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 163 

hand beyond the stroke of themselves Where- 
upon the whole becomes necessarily punished, 
and the contracted hand of God extended 
unto universal judgments : from whence, never- 
thelessj the stupidity of our tempers receives 
but faint impressions, and in the most tragical 
state of times holds but starts of good motions. 
So that to continue us in goodness there must 
be iterated returns of misery, and a circulation 
in afflictions is necessary. And since we can- 
not be wise by warnings ; since plagues are 
insignificant, except we be personally plagued; 
since also we cannot be punished unto amend- 
ment by proxy or commutation, nor by vicinity, 
but contaction ; there is an unhappy necessity 
that we must smart in our own skins, and the 
provoked arm of the Almighty must fall upon 
ourselves. The capital sufferings of others are judgments 
rather our monitions than acquitments. There monitions?"' 
is but One who died salvifically for us, and 
able to say unto death, Hitherto shalt thou go job xxxviii. 
and no farther; only one enlivening death, ^^* 
which makes gardens of graves, and that which 
was sowed in corruption to arise and flourish i Cor. xv. 43. 
in glory; when death itself shall die, and 
living shall have no period ; when the damned 
shall mourn at the funeral of death ; when life Rom. vi. 23. 
not death shall be the wages of sin ; when the 
second death shall prove a miserable life, and 
destruction shall be courted. 

XII. Although their thoughts may seem too Good- 
severe, who think that few ill-natured men ffo "^tured 

1 . , , iTii persons best 

to heaven ; yet it may be acknowledged that founded for 
good-natured persons are best founded for that ^'^*^^"- 
place; who enter the world with good dis- 



164 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

positions and natural graces^ more ready to be 
advanced by impressions from above, and 
christianized unto pieties ; who carry above 
them plain and downright dealing minds, 
humility, mercy, charity, and virtues accept- 
able unto God and man. But whatever 
success they may have as to heaven, they 
Ps. cxxvii. s. are the acceptable men on earth, and happy 
is he who hath his quiver full of them for his 
friends. These are not the dens wherein 
falsehood lurks, and hypocrisy hides its head ; 
wherein frowardness makes its nest ; or where 
malice, hard-heartedness, and oppression love 
to dwell ; not those by whom the poor get 
little, and the rich sometime lose all ; men 
not of retracted looks, but who carry their 
hearts in their faces, and need not to be 
looked upon with perspectives ; not sordidly 
or mischievously ingrateful ; who cannot learn 
to ride upon the neck of the afflicted, nor load 
the heavy-laden, but who keep the Temple of 
Janus shut by peaceable and quiet tempers ; 
who make not only the best friends, but the 
best enemies, as easier to forgive than offend, 
and ready to pass by the second offence before 
they avenge the first ; who make natural 
Royalists, obedient subjects, kind and merciful 
Princes, verified in our own, one of the best- 
natured Kings of this throne.^ Of the old 
Roman Emperors the best were the best- 
natured ; though they made but a small 
number, and might be writ in a ring. Many 
of the rest were as bad men as princes ; 
humorists rather than of good humours ; and 
^ Charles n. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 165 

of good natural parts rather than of good 
natures, which did but arm their bad inclina- 
tions, and make them wittily wicked. 

XIII. With what shift and pains we come 
into the world, we remember not: but 'tis 
commonly found no easy matter to get out 
of it. Many have studied to exasperate the 
ways of death, but fewer hours have been 
spent to soften that necessity. That the 
smoothest way unto the grave is made by 
bleeding, as common opinion presumeth, 
beside the sick and fainting languors, which 
accompany that effusion, the experiment in 
Lucan and Seneca will make us doubt ; under Tacit. 
which the noble stoick so deeply laboured, ^^''^l^; ''^' 
that to conceal his affliction, he was fain to 
retire from the sight of his wife, and not 
ashamed to implore the merciful hand of his 
physician to shorten his misery therein. Ovid, PyP' '^*^^*- 
the old heroes, and the stoicks, who M'ere so * " ' 
afraid of drowning, as dreading thereby the 
extinction of their soul, which they conceived 
to be a fire, stood probably in fear of an easier 
way of death ; wherein the water, entering 
the possessions of air, makes a temperate 
suffocation, and kills as it were without a 
fever. Surely many who have had the spirit 
to destroy themselves, have not been ingenious 
in the contrivance thereof. 'Twas a dull way 
practised by Themistocles, to overwhelm him- Plut. 
self with bull's blood, who, being an Athenian, ^^P' ^^' 
might have held an easier theory of death 
from the state potion of his country ; from 
which Socrates in Plato seemed not to suffer 
much more than from the fit of an ague. Cato 



166 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

is much to be pitied, who mangled himself 
with poyniards ; and Hannibal seems more 
subtle, who carried his delivery, not in the 
point but the pummel of his sword. ^ 

The Egyptians were mercifully contrivers, 
who destroyed their malefactors by asps, 
charming their senses into an invincible sleep, 
and killing as it were with Hermes' s rod. 
The Turkish Emperor,^ odious for other cruelty, 
was herein a remarkable master of mercy, 
killing his favourite in his sleep, and sending 
him from the shade into the house of dark- 
ness. He who had been thus destroyed would 
hardly have bled at the presence of his 
destroyer: when men are already dead by 
metaphor, and pass but from one sleep unto 
another, wanting herein the eminent part of 
severity, to feel themselves to die ; and escap- 
ing the sharpest attendant of death, the lively 
To learn to apprehension thereof. But to learn to die, is 
die, better better than to study the ways of dyinff . Death 

than to study .^•, n j ^ . .- ^ . . v . 

the ways of Will Dud some ways to untie or cut the most 
dying. Gordian knots of life, and make men's miseries 

as mortal as themselves ; whereas evil spirits, 
as undying substances, are unseparable from 
their calamities; and, therefore, they ever- 
lastingly struggle under their angustias, and 
bound up with immortality can never get out 
of themselves. 

1 Wherein he is said to have carried something whereby, 
upon a struggle or despair, he might deliver himself from 
all misfortunes. Juvenal says, it was carried in a ring 
[Sat. X. 165). 

2 Solyman. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 1G7 



THE THIRD PART 

'Tis hard to find a whole age to imitate, or no one age 
what century to propose for example. Some exemplary. 
have been far more approvable than others; 
but virtue and vice, panegyrics and satires, 
scatteringly to be found in all. History sets 
down not only things laudable, but abomin- 
able : things which should never have been, 
or never have been known; so that noble 
patterns must be fetched here and there from 
single persons, rather than whole nations ; and 
from all nations, rather than any one. The 
world was early bad, and the first sin the most The world 
deplorable of any. The younger world afforded ^^^'^ ^^^' 
the oldest men, and perhaps the best and the 
worst, when length of days made virtuous 
habits heroical and immovable, vitious, in- 
veterate, and irreclaimable. And since 'tis 
said that the imaginations of their hearts were Gen. vi. s. 
evil, only evil, and continually evil ; it may be 
feared that their sins held pace with their 
lives ; and their longevity swelling their im- 
pieties, the longanimity of God would no 
longer endure such vivacious abominations. 
Their impieties were surely of a deep dye, 
which required the whole element of water 
to wash them away, and overwhelmed their 
memories with themselves; and so shut up 
the first windows of time, leaving no histories 



168 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

of those longevous generations, when men 
might have been properly historians, when 
Adam might have read long lectures unto 
Methuselah, and Methuselah unto Noah. For 
had we been happy in just historical accounts 
of that unparalleled world, we might have 
been acquainted with wonders ; and have 
understood not a little of the acts and under- 
takings of Moses his mighty men, and men of 
renown of old ; which might have enlarged 
our thoughts, and made the world older unto 
us. For the unknown part of time shortens 
the estimation, if not the compute of it. 
What hath escaped our knowledge, falls not 
under our consideration ; and what is and will 
be latent, is little better than non-existent. 
He honours H. Some things are dictated for our in- 
imitates°him. struction, somc actcd for our imitation ; 
wherein 'tis best to ascend unto the highest 
conformity, and to the honour of the exemplar. 
He honours God, who imitates him ; for what 
we virtuously imitate we approve and admire : 
and since we delight not to imitate inferiors, 
we aggrandize and magnify those we imitate ; 
since also we are most apt to imitate those we 
love, we testify our affection in our imitation 
of the inimitable. To affect to be like, may 
be no imitation : to act, and not to be what 
we pretend to imitate, is but a mimical con- 
formation, and carrieth no virtue in it. Lucifer 
imitated not God, when he said he would be 
like the highest : and he imitated not Jupiter, 
who counterfeited thunder. Where imitation 
can go no farther, let admiration step on, 
whereof there is no end in the wisest form of 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 169 

men. Even angels and spirits have enough 
to admire in their sublimer natures ; admira- 
tion being the act of the creature, and not of 
Godj who doth not admire himself. Created 
natures allow of swelling hyperboles : nothing 
can be said hyperbolically of God, nor will his 
attributes admit of expressions above their 
own exuperances. Trismegistus his circle, 
whose centre is everywhere, and circum- 
ference nowhere, was no hyperbole. Words 
cannot exceed where they cannot express 
enough. Even the most winged thoughts 
fall at the setting out, and reach not the 
portal of divinity. 

III. In bivious theorems, and Janus-faced Embrace not 
doctrines, let virtuous considerations state the side of" 
determination. Look upon opinions as thou opinions. 
dost upon the moon, and choose not the dark 
hemisphere for thy contemplation. Embrace 
not the opacous and blind side of opinions, 
but that which looks most luciferously or 
influentially unto goodness. 'Tis better to 
think that there are Guardian Spirits, than 
that there are no spirits to guard us ; that 
vicious persons are slaves, than that there 
is any servitude in virtue ; that times past 
have been better than times present, than that 
times were always bad ; and that to be men 
it sufficeth to be no better than men in all 
ages, and so promiscuously to swim down the 
turbid stream, and make up the grand con- 
fusion. Sow not thy understanding with 
opinions, which make nothing of iniquities, 
and fallaciously extenuate transgressions. 
Look upon vices and vicious objects with 



170 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

hyperbolical eyes; and rather enlarge their 
dimensions^ that their unseen deformities 
may not escape thy sense^ and their poisonous 
parts and stings may appear massy and mon- 
strous unto thee: for the undiscerned particles 
and atoms of evil deceive us, and we are un- 
done by the invisibles of seeming goodness. 
We are only deceived in what is not discerned, 
and to err is but to be blind or dim-sighted as 
to some perceptions. 
To be IV, Xo be honest in a right line,^ and 

epUome, be virtuous by epitomc, be firm unto such prin- 
principiS^of ^^P^^^ of goodncss, as Carry in them volumes 
goodness. of instruction and may abridge thy labour. 
And since instructions are many, hold close 
unto those whereon the rest depend : so may 
we have all in a few, and the Law and the 
Prophets in a rule, the Sacred Writ in steno- 
graphy, and the Scripture in a nutshell. To 
pursue the osseous and solid part of goodness, 
which gives stability and rectitude to all the 
rest ; to settle on fundamental virtues, and 
bid early defiance unto mother-vices, which 
carry in their bowels the seminals of other 
iniquities; makes a short cut in goodness, 
and strikes not off an head, but the whole 
neck of Hydra. For we are carried into the 
dark lake, like the Egyptian river into the 
sea, by seven principal ostiaries. The mother- 
sins of that number are the deadly engines of 
evil spirits that undo us, and even evil spirits 
themselves ; and he who is under the chains 
thereof is not without a possession. Mary 
St. Luke Maffdalene had more than seven devils, if 

Vlll. 2, 30. ^ 

1 Linea recta hrevissima. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 171 

these with their imps were in her; and he 
who is thus possessed, may literally be named 
Legion. Where such plants grow and prosper, 
look for no champain or region void of thorns ; 
but productions like the tree of Goa/ and 
forests of abomination. 

V. Guide not the hand of God, nor order Guide not 
the finger of the Almighty unto thy will and of God! 
pleasure ; but sit quiet in the soft showers of 
Providence, and favourable distributions in 
this world, either to thyself or others. And 
since not only judgments have their errands, 
but mercies their commissions ; snatch not at 
every favour, nor think thyself passed by if 
they fall upon thy neighbour. Rake not up 
envious displacences at things successful unto 
others, which the wise Disposer of all thinks 
not fit for thyself. Reconcile the events of 
things unto both beings, that is, of this world 
and the next ; so will there not seem so many 
riddles in Providence, nor various inequalities 
in the dispensation of things below. If thou 
dost not anoint thy face, yet put not on sack- 
cloth at the felicities of others. Repining at Repine not 
the good, draws on rejoicing at the evils of QfotJefg*^^ 
others : and so falls into that inhuman vice,^ 
for which so few languages have a name. The 
blessed spirits above rejoice at our happiness 
below : but to be glad at the evils of one 
another, is beyond the malignity of hell ; and 
falls not on evil spirits, who, though they 

1 Arbor Goa de Ruyz, or Ficus Indica, whose branches 
send down shoots which root in the ground, from whence 
there successively rise others, till one tree becomes a 
wood. 

2 'ETTtxaipe/ca/cfa. 



172 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



rejoice at our unhappiness, take no pleasure 
at the afflictions of their own society or of 
their fellow natures. Degenerous heads ! 
who must be fain to learn from such ex- 
amples, and to be taught from the school 
of hell. 
Grain not yj Grain not thy vicious stains: nor 

VICIOUS stains J ' 

which deepen those swart tinctures, which temper, 

washe"might infii*niity, or ill-habits have set upon thee ; 
expunge. and fix not, by iterated depravations, what 
time might efface, or virtuous washes expunge. 
He, who thus still advanceth in iniquity, 
deepeneth his deformed hue ; turns a shadow 
into night, and makes himself a negro in the 
black jaundice ; and so becomes one of those 
lost ones, the disproportionate pores of whose 
brains afford no entrance unto good motions, 
but reflect and frustrate all counsels, deaf unto 
the thunder of the laws, and rocks unto the 
cries of charitable commiserators. He who 
hath had the patience of Diogenes, to make 
orations unto statues, may more sensibly 
apprehend how all words fall to the ground, 
spent upon such a surd and earless genera- 
tion of men, stupid unto all instruction, and 
rather requiring an exorcist than an orator 
for their conversion ! 

VII. Burden not the back of Aries, Leo, 
or Taurus, with thy faults ; nor make 
Saturn, Mars, or Venus guilty of thy follies. 
Think not to fasten thy imperfections on 
the stars, and so despairingly conceive 
thyself under a fatality of being evil. 
Calculate thyself within ; seek not thyself 
in the moon, but in thine own orb or 



Fatalism. 
Burden not 
the stars 
with thy 
faults. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 173 

microcosmical circumference. Let celestial 
aspects admonish and advertise, not con- 
clude and determine thy ways. For since 
good and bad stars moralise not our actions, 
and neither excuse or commend, acquit or 
condemn our good or bad deeds at the 
present or last bar; since some are astro- 
logically well disposed who are morally 
highly vicious; not celestial figures, but 
virtuous schemes, must denominate and state 
our actions. If we rightly understood the 
names whereby God calleth the stars ; if we Ps. cxivii. 4. 
knew his name for the Dog-Star, or by what 
appellation Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn obey 
his will ; it might be a welcome accession 
unto astrology, which speaks great things, and 
is fain to make use of appellations from Greek 
and barbarick systems. Whatever influences, 
impulsions, or inclinations there be from the 
lights above, it were a piece of wisdom to 
make one of those wise men who overrule 
their stars,^ and with their own militia con- 
tend with the host of heaven. Unto which 
attempt there want not auxiliaries from the 
whole strength of morality, supplies from 
Christian ethicks, influences also and illumina- 
tions from above, more powerful than the 
lights of heaven. 

VIII. Confound not the distinctions of thy Let every 
life which nature hath divided ; that is, youth, fife'b^happy 
adolescence, manhood, and old age : nor in i" i^s proper 

111 11 1 virtiiAC 

these divided periods, wherein thou art in a 
manner four, conceive thyself but one. Let 
every division be happy in its proper virtues, 

1 Sapiens dominahitur astris. 



virtues. 



174 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

nor one vice run through all. Let each 
distinction have its salutary transition, and 
critically deliver thee from the imperfections 
of the former ; so ordering the whole, that 
prudence and virtue may have the largest 
section. Do as a child but when thou art a 
child, and ride not on a reed at twenty. He 
who hath not taken leave of the follies of his 
youth, and in his maturer state scarce got out 
of that division, disproportionately divideth 
his days, crowds up the latter part of his life, 
and leaves too narrow a corner for the age of 
wisdom ; and so hath room to be a man scarce 
longer than he hath been a youth. Rather 
than to make this confusion, anticipate the 
virtues of age, and live long without the 
infirmities of it. So mayst thou count up 
thy days as some do Adam's;^ that is, by 
anticipation; so mayst thou be coetaneous 
unto thy elders, and a father unto thy con- 
temporaries. 

IX. While others are curious in the choice 
of good air, and chiefly solicitous for healthful 
habitations, study thou conversation, and be 
critical in thy consortion. The aspects, con- 
junctions, and configurations of the stars, 
which mutually diversify, intend, or qualify 
their influences, are but the varieties of their 
nearer or farther conversation with one 
another, and like the consortion of men, 
whereby they become better or worse, and 
even exchange their natures. Since men live 
by examples, and will be imitating something, 

1 Adam, thought to be created in the state of man, 
about thirty years old. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 175 

order thy imitation to thy improvement, not Justin. 
thy ruin. Look not for roses in Attalus's ^ ^"^- ''''''^** 
garden, or wholesome flowers in a venomous 
plantation. And since there is scarce any 
one bad^ but some others are the worse for 
him ; tempt not contagion by proximity, and 
hazard not thyself in the shadow of cor- 
ruption. He who hath not early suffered this 
shipwreck, and in his younger days escaped 
this Charybdis, may make a happy voyage, 
and not come in with black sails into the port. 
Self-conversation, or to be alone, is better 
than such consortion. Some school-men tell 
us, that he is properly alone, with whom in 
the same place there is no other of the same 
species. Nabuchodonozor was alone, though Dan. iv. 
among the beasts of the field; and a wise 
man may be tolerably said to be alone, though 
with a rabble of people little better than 
beasts about him. Unthinking heads, who 
have not learned to be alone, are in a prison 
to themselves, if they be not also with 
others : whereas, on the contrary, they whose 
thoughts are in a fair, and hurry within, are 
sometimes fain to retire into company, to be 
out of the crowd of themselves. He who 
must needs have company, must needs have 
sometimes bad company. Be able to be alone. Be able to 
Lose not the advantage of solitude, and the ^^ ^'°"^* 
society of thyself; nor be only content, but 
delight to be alone and single with Omni- 
presency. He who is thus prepared, the day 
is not uneasy nor the night black unto him. 

1 Attalus made a garden which contained only venomous 
plants. 



176 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



The whole 
world a 
phylactery : 
wisdom of 
God in 
everything 
we see. 



Darkness may bound his eyes, not his im- 
agination. In his bed he may lie^ like Pompey 
and his sons,i in all quarters of the earth ; 
may speculate the universe, and enjoy the 
whole world in the hermitage of himself. 
Thus the old ascetick Christians found a 
paradise in a desert, and with little converse 
on earth held a conversation in heaven ; thus 
they astronomized in caves, and, though they 
beheld not the stars, had the glory of heaven 
before them. 

X. Let the characters of good things stand 
indelibly in thy mind, and thy thoughts be 
active on them. Trust not too much unto 
suggestions from reminiscential amulets, or 
artificial memorandums. Let the mortifying 
Janus of Covarrubias ^ be in thy daily thoughts, 
not only on thy hand and signets. Rely not 
alone upon silent and dumb remembrances. 
Behold not death's heads till thou dost not 
see them, nor look upon mortifying objects 
till thou overlookest them. Forget not how 
assuefaction unto anything minorates the 
passion from it; how constant objects lose 
their hints, and steal an inadvertisement 
upon us. There is no excuse to forget what 
everything prompts unto us. To thoughtful 
observators, the whole world is a phylactery ; 

1 Pompeios Juvenes Asia atque Europa, sed ipswm 
Terra tegit Libyes. 

2 Don Sebastian de Covarrubias writ three centuries of 
moral emblems in Spanish. In the 88th of the second 
century he sets down two faces averse, and conjoined 
Janus-like ; the one, a gallant beautiful face, the other, 
a death's-head face, with this motto out of Ovid's Meta- 
morphoses : — 

Quidfueritri, quid simque, vide. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 177 

and everything we see an item of the wisdom, 
power, or goodness of God. Happy are they 
who verify their amulets, and make their 
phylacteries speak in their lives and actions. 
To run on in despite of the revulsions and 
pull-backs of such remoras aggravates our 
transgressions. When death's heads on our 
hands have no influence upon our heads, and 
fleshless cadavers abate not the exorbitances 
of the flesh; when crucifixes upon men's 
hearts suppress not their bad commotions, 
and His image who was murdered for us 
withholds not from blood and murder; phy- 
lacteries prove but formalities, and their 
despised hints sharpen our condemnations. 

XL Look not for whales in the Euxine Think not to 
Sea, or expect great matters where they are on ear^hT° 
not to be found. Seek not for profundity Jjj'^g^^j.^^^' ^jj 
in shallowness, or fertility in a wilderness, not here. 
Place not the expectation of great happiness 
here below, or think to find heaven on earth ; 
wherein we must be content with embryon 
felicities, and fruitions of doubtful faces : for 
the circle of our felicities makes but short 
arches. In every clime we are in a periscian 
state ; and with our light, our shadow and 
darkness walk about us. Our contentments 
stand upon the tops of pyramids ready to fall 
off, and the insecurity of their enjoyments 
abrupteth our tranquillities. What we magnify 
is magnificent ; but, like to the Colossus, noble 
without, stuft with rubbage and coarse metal 
within. Even the sun, whose glorious outside 
we behold, may have dark and smoky entrails. 
In vain we admire the lustre of anything 

M 



178 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

seen : that which is truly glorious is invisible. 
Paradise was but a part of the earth, lost not 
only to our fruition but our knowledge. And 
if, according to old dictates, no man can be 
said to be happy before death, the happiness 
of this life goes for nothing before it be over, 
and while we think ourselves happy we do 
but usurp that name. Certainly, true beati- 
tude groweth not on earth, nor hath this 
world in it the expectations we have of it. 
He swims in oil, and can hardly avoid sinking, 
who hath such light foundations to support 
him : 'tis, therefore, happy that we have two 
worlds to hold on. To enjoy true happiness, 
we must travel into a very far country, and 
even out of ourselves ; for the pearl we seek 
for is not to be found in the Indian but in the 
Empyrean Ocean. 

Revenge. XII. Answer not the spur of fury, and be 

not prodigal or prodigious in revenge. Make 
not one in the Historia Horribilis ; ^ flay not 
thy servant for a broken glass, nor pound him 
in a mortar who offendeth thee ; supererogate 
not in the worst sense, and overdo not the 
necessities of evil: humour not the injustice 
of revenge. Be not stoically mistaken in the 
equality of sins, nor commutatively iniquitous 
in the valuation of transgressions ; but weigh 
them in the scales of heaven, and by the 
weights of righteous reason. Think that 
revenge too high, which is but level with the 
offence. Let thy arrows of revenge fly short ; 

I Sam. or be aimed like those of Jonathan, to fall 

beside the mark. Too many there be to 
1 A book so entituled wherein are sundry horrid accounts. 



XX. 20. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 179 

whom a dead enemy smells well, and who 
find musk and amber in revenge. The ferity 
of such minds holds no rule in retaliations, 
requiring too often a head for a tooth, and the 
supreme revenge for trespasses which a night's 
rest should obliterate. But patient meekness 
takes injuries like pills, not chewing but 
swallowing them down, laconically suffering, 
and silently passing them over ; while angered Juy. Sat. 
pride makes a noise, like Homerican Mars, at ^" " ^"' 
every scratch of offences. Since women do feminine 
most delight in revenge, it may seem but "^^" °° ' 
feminine manhood to be vindicative. If thou 
must needs have thy revenge of thine enemy, 
with a soft tongue break his bones, heap coals Prov. xxv. 
of fire on his head, forgive him and enjoy it. ^^' ^^' ^^' 
To forgive our enemies is a charming way of 
revenge, and a short Caesarian conquest over- 
coming without a blow ; laying our enemies at 
our feet, under sorrow, shame, and repentance; 
leaving our foes our friends, and solicitously 
inclined to grateful retaliations. Thus to 
return upon our adversaries, is a healing way 
of revenge ; and to do good for evil a soft and 
melting ultion, a method taught from heaven, 
to keep all smooth on earth. Common forcible 
ways make not an end of evil, but leave 
hatred and malice behind them. An enemy 
thus reconciled is little to be trusted, as 
wanting the foundation of love and charity, 
and but for a time restrained by disadvantage 
or inability. If thou hast not mercy for others, if no mercy 
yet be not cruel unto thyself. To ruminate n°ot°cru'ef 'to^^ 
upon evils, to make critical notes upon injuries, thyself. 
and be too acute in their apprehensions, is to 



180 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

add unto our tortures, to feather the arrows 
of our enemies, to lash ourselves with the 
scorpions of our foes, and to resolve to sleep 
no more; for injuries long dreamt on, take 
away at last all rest ; and he sleeps but like 
Regulus, who busieth his head about them. 
^'ophecies ^lll' Amuse not thyself about the riddles 
when they of future things. Study prophecies when 
histories!"^ they are become histories, and past hovering 
in their causes. Eye well things past and 
present, and let conjectural sagacity suffice 
for things to come. There is a sober latitude 
for prescience in contingences of discoverable 
tempers, whereby discerning heads see some- 
times beyond their eyes, and wise men become 
prophetical. Leave cloudy predictions to 
their periods, and let appointed seasons have 
the lot of their accomplishments. 'Tis too 
early to study such prophecies before they 
have been long made, before some train of 
their causes have already taken fire, laying 
open in part what lay obscure and before 
buried unto us. For the voice of prophecies 
is like that of whispering-places : they who 
are near, or at a little distance, hear nothing ; 
those at the farthest extremity will under- 
stand all. But a retrograde cognition of 
times past, and things which have already 
been, is more satisfactory than a suspended 
knowledge of what is yet unexistent. And 
the greatest part of time being already wrapt 
up in things behind us ; it 's now somewhat 
late to bait after things before us ; for futurity 
still shortens, and time present sucks in time 
to come. What is prophetical in one age 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 181 

proves historical in another, and so must hold 

on unto the last of time ; when there will be 

no room for prediction, when Janus shall lose 

one face, and the long beard of time shall 2 Sam. x. 4. 

look like those of David's servants, shorn away 

upon one side ; and when, if the expected 

Elias should appear, he might say much of 

what is past, not much of what 's to come. 

XIV. Live unto the dignity of thy nature. Live unto 
and leave it not disputable at last, whether of^thy^"' ^ 
thou hast been a man ; or, since thou art a "^'u'^^- 
composition of man and beast, how thou hast 
predominantly passed thy days, to state the 
denomination. Unman not, therefore, thyself 
by a bestial transformation, nor realize old 
fables. Expose not thyself by four-footed 
manners unto monstrous draughts, and cari- 
catura representations. Think not after the 
old Pythagorean conceit, what beast thou 
mayst be after death. Be not under any 
brutal metempsychosis, while thou livest and 
walkest about erectly under the scheme of 
man. In thine own circumference, as in that 
of the earth, let the rational horizon be larger 
than the sensible, and the circle of reason 
than of sense : let the divine part be upward, 
and the region of beast below ; otherwise, 'tis 
but to live invertedly, and with thy head 
unto the heels of thy antipodes. Desert not 
thy title to a divine particle and union with 
invisibles. Let true knowledge and virtue 
tell the lower world thou art a part of the 
higher. Let thy thoughts be of things which 
have not entered into the hearts of beasts: 
think of things long past, and long to come : 



182 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

acquaint thyself with the choragium of the 
stars, and consider the vast expansion beyond 
them. Let intellectual tubes give thee a 
glance of things which visive organs reach 
not. Have a glimpse of incomprehensibles ; 
and thoughts of things, which thoughts but 
tenderly touch. Lodge immaterials in thy 
head ; ascend unto invisibles ; fill thy spirit 
with spirituals, with the mysteries of faith, 
the magnalities of religion, and thy life with 
the honour of God ; without which, though 
giants in wealth and dignity, we are but 
dwarfs and pygmies in humanity, and may 
hold a pitiful rank in that triple division of 
mankind into heroes, men, and beasts. For 
though human souls are said to be equal, yet 
is there no small inequality in their opera- 
tions; some maintain the allowable station of 
men ; many are far below it ; and some have 
been so divine, as to approach the apogeum of 
their natures, and to be in the confinium of 
spirits. 

XV. Behold thyself by inward opticks and 

the crystalline of thy soul. Strange it is, that 

in the most perfect sense there should be so 

many fallacies, that we are fain to make a 

doctrine, and often to see by art. But the 

greatest imperfection is in our inward sight, 

that is, to be ghosts unto our own eyes ; and 

while we are so sharp-sighted as to look 

through others, to be invisible unto ourselves ; 

for the inward eyes are more fallacious than 

Sffat^fn^^ the outward. The vices we scoff at in others, 

others, laugh laugh at US within ourselves. Avarice, pride, 

oureeive?*" falsehood lie undiscemed and blindly in us. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 183 

even to the age of blindness ; and, therefore, 
to see ourselves interiorly, we are fain to 
borrow other men's eyes ; wherein true friends 
are good informers, and censurers no bad 
friends. Conscience only, that can see with- 
out hght, sits in the areopagy and dark 
tribunal of our hearts, surveying our thoughts 
and condemning their obliquities. Happy is 
that state of vision that can see without light, 
though all should look as before the creation, 
when there was not an eye to see, or light 
to actuate a vision : wherein, notwithstanding, 
obscurity is only imaginable respectively unto 
eyes ; for unto God there was none : eternal 
light was ever; created light was for the 
creation, not himself; and, as he saw before 
the sun, may still also see without it. In the 
city of the new Jerusalem there is neither sun Rev. xxi. 23. 
nor moon ; where glorified eyes must see by 
the archetypal sun, or the light of God, able 
to illuminate intellectual eyes, and make 
unknown visions. Intuitive perceptions in 
spiritual beings may, perhaps, hold some 
analogy unto vision : but yet how they see us, 
or one another, what eye, what light, or what 
perception is required unto their intuition, is 
yet dark unto our apprehension ; and even 
how they see God, or how unto our glorified 
eyes the beatifical vision will be celebrated, 
another world must tell us, when perceptions 
will be new, and we may hope to behold 
invisibles. 

XVI. When all looks fair about, and thou Forget not 
seest not a cloud so big as a hand to threaten JhLgs,^but 
thee, forget not the wheel of things : think of ^eat not thy 



184 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



brains to 
foreknow 
them. 



St. John 
xxi. i8, 19. 



Ingratitude, 

degenerous 

vice! 



sullen vicissitudes, but beat not thy brains to 
foreknow them. Be armed against such 
obscurities, rather by submission than fore- 
knowledge. The knowledge of future evils 
mortifies present felicities, and there is more 
content in the uncertainty or ignorance of 
them. This favour our Saviour vouchsafed 
unto Peter, when he foretold not his death in 
plain terms, and so by an ambiguous and cloudy 
delivery damped not the spirit of his disciples. 
But in the assured foreknowledge of the 
deluge, Noah lived many years under the 
affliction of a flood ; and Jerusalem was taken 
mito Jeremy, before it was besieged. And, 
therefore, the wisdom of astrologers, who 
speak of future things, hath wisely softened 
the severity of their doctrines; and even in 
their sad predictions, while they tell us of 
inclination not coaction from the stars, they 
kill us not with Stygian oaths and merciless 
necessity, but leave us hopes of evasion. 

XVII. If thou hast the brow to endure the 
name of traitor, perjured, or oppressor, yet 
cover thy face when ingratitude is thrown at 
thee. If that degenerous vice possess thee, 
hide thyself in the shadow of thy shame, and 
pollute not noble society. Grateful ingenuities 
are content to be obliged within some compass 
of retribution ; and being depressed by the 
weight of iterated favours, may so labour 
under their inabilities of requital, as to abate 
the content from kindnesses ; but narrow self- 
ended souls make prescription of good offices, 
and obliged by often favours think others still 
due unto them ; whereas, if they but once 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 185 

fail, they prove so perversely ungrateful, as to 
make nothing of former courtesies, and to 
bury all that's past. Such tempers pervert 
the generous course of things; for they dis- 
courage the inclinations of noble minds, and 
make beneficency cool unto acts of obligation, 
whereby the grateful world should subsist, and 
have their consolation. Common gratitude 
must be kept alive by the additionary fuel of 
new courtesies : but generous gratitudes, 
though but once well obliged, without quicken- 
ing repetitions or expectation of new favours, 
have thankful minds for ever ; for they write 
not their obligations in sandy but marble 
memories, which wear not out but with them- 
selves. 

XVIII. Think not silence the wisdom of virtue of 
fools ; but, if rightly timed, the honour of wise taciturnity. 
men, who have not the infirmity, but the 
virtue of taciturnity; and speak not out of 

the abundance, but the well-weighed thoughts st. Matt. 
of their hearts. Such silence may be elo- '"'• 34* 
quence, and speak thy worth above the power 
of words. Make such a one thy friend, in 
whom princes may be happy, and great 
counsels successful. Let him have the key of 
thy heart, who hath the lock of his own, 
which no temptation can open ; where thy 
secrets may lastingly lie, like the lamp in 
Olybius his urn,i alive, and light, but close and 
invisible. 

XIX. Let thy oaths be sacred, and promises Oaths. 

be made upon the altar of thy heart. Call ^'^;„%^^, 

1 Which after many hundred years was found burning 
under ground, and went out as soon as the air came to it. 



186 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

not Jove to witness with a stone in one hand, 

and a straw in another; and so make chaff 

and stubble of thy vows. Worldly spirits, 

whose interest is their belief, make cobwebs 

of obligations ; and, if they can find ways to 

elude the urn of the Praetor/ will trust the 

thunderbolt of Jupiter : and, therefore, if they 

should as deeply swear as Osman to Bethlem 

Knolles' Gabor ; yet whether they would be bound by 

Turks, those chains, and not find ways to cut such 

p- 1383. Gordian knots, we could have no just assur- 

Honest ance. But honest men's words are Stygian 

St^" fan°^'^^ oaths, and promises inviolable. These are not 

oaths. the men for whom the fetters of law were 

first forged ; they needed not the solemnness 

of oaths ; by keeping their faith they swear, 

and evacuate such confirmations. 

Personate XX. Though the world be histrionical, and 

most men live ironically, yet be thou what 

thou singly art, and personate only thyself. 

Swim smoothly in the stream of thy nature, 

and live but one man. To single hearts 

doubling is discruciating : such tempers must 

sweat to dissemble, and prove but hypocritical 

hypocrites. Simulation must be short; men 

do not easily continue a counterfeiting life, 

or dissemble unto death. He who counter- 

feiteth, acts a part ; and is, as it were, out of 

himself: which, if long, proves so irksome, 

that men are glad to pull off their vizards, and 

resume themselves again ; no practice being 

able to naturalize such unnaturals, or make a 

man rest content not to be himself. And, 

1 The vessel into which the ticket of condemnation or 
acquittal was cast. 



only thyself. 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 187 

therefore^ since sincerity is thy temper, let 
veracity be thy virtue, in words, manners, and Let veracity 
actions. To offer at iniquities, which have so in iords^^^"^ 
Httle foundations in thee, were to be vitious manners, 
up-hill, and strain for thy condemnation. 
Persons vitiously inclined, want no wheels to 
make them actively vitious ; as having the 
elater and spring of their own natures to 
facilitate their iniquities. And, therefore, so 
many, who are sinistrous unto good actions, 
are ambidexterous unto bad ; and Vulcans in 
virtuous paths, Achilleses in vitious motions. 

XXI. Rest not in the high-strained para- Labour in 
doxes of old philosophy, supported by naked of falthT^ot 
reason, and the reward of mortal felicity ; but in old high- 
labour in the ethicks of faith, built upon paradoxes. 
heavenly assistance, and the happiness of both 
beings. Understand the rules, but swear not 

unto the doctrines of Zeno or Epicurus. Look 
beyond Antoninus, and terminate not thy 
morals in Seneca or Epictetus. Let not the 
twelve but the two tables be thy law : let 
Pythagoras be thy remembrancer, not thy 
textuary and final instructor : and learn the 
vanity of the world, rather from Solomon than 
Phocylides. Sleep not in the dogmas of the 
Peripatus, Academy, or Porticusx Be a 
moralist of the mount, an Epictetus in the 
faith, and christianize thy notions. 

XXII. In seventy or eighty years, a man in seventy 
may have a deep gust of the world ; know yearj^one 
what it is, what it can afford, and what 'tis may have a 
to have been a man. Such a latitude ofofth?who?e 
years may hold a considerable corner in the ^PJJ^^^ °^ 
general map of time ; and a man may have a 



188 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

curt epitome of the whole course thereof in 
the days of his own life ; may clearly see he 
hath but acted over his forefathers ; what it 
was to live in ages past^ and what living will 
be in all ages to come. 

He is like to be the best judge of time, 
who hath lived to see about the sixtieth part 
thereof. Persons of short times may know 
what 'tis to live, but not the life of man, who, 
having little behind them, are but Januses of 
one face, and know not singularities enough 
to raise axioms of this world ; but such a 
compass of years will show new examples of 
old things, parallelisms of occurrences through 
the whole course of time, and nothing be 
monstrous unto him ; who may in that time 
understand not only the varieties of men, but 
the variation of himself, and how many men 
he hath been in that extent of time. 

He may have a close apprehension what 
is to be forgotten, while he hath lived to find 
none who could remember his father, or scarce 
the friends of his youth ; and may sensibly see 
with what a face in no long time oblivion will 
look upon himself His progeny may never 
be his posterity ; he may go out of the world 
less related than he came into it; and con- 
sidering the frequent mortality in friends and 
relations, in such a term of time, he may pass 
away divers years in sorrow and black habits, 
and leave none to mourn for himself; orbity 
may be his inheritance, and riches his re- 
pentance. 

In such a thread of time, and long observa- 
tion of men, he may acquire a physiognomical 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 189 

intuitive knowledge ; judge the interiors by 
the outside, and raise conjectures at first sight ; 
and knowing what men have been, what they 
are, what children probably will be, may in 
the present age behold a good part and the 
temper of the next; and since so many live 
by the rules of constitution, and so few over- 
come their temperamental inclinations, make 
no improbable predictions. 

Such a portion of time will afford a c large 
prospect backward and authentick reflections 
how far he hath performed the great intention 
of his being, in the honour of his Maker: 
whether he hath made good the principles of 
his nature, and what he was made to be ; what 
characteristick and special mark he hath left, 
to be observable in his generation; whether 
he hath lived to purpose or in vain ; and what 
he hath added, acted, or performed, that might 
considerably speak him a man. 

In such an age, delights will be undelight- 
ful, and pleasures grow stale unto him ; anti- 
quated theorems will revive, and Solomon's 
maxims be demonstrations unto him ; hopes or 
presumptions be over, and despair grow up of 
any satisfaction below. And having been 
long tossed in the ocean of this world, he will 
by that time feel the in-draught of another, 
unto which this seems but preparatory, and 
without it of no high value. He will experi- 
mentally find the emptiness of all things, and 
the nothing of what is past ; and wisely 
grounding upon true Christian expectations, 
finding so much past, will wholly fix upon 
what is to come. He will long for perpetuity, 



190 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



Elysium of 
a virtuously 
composed 
mind. 



Forget not 
the capital 
end of once 
living. 



and live as though he made haste to be happy. 
The last may prove the prime part of his life, 
and those his best days which he lived nearest 
heaven. 

XXIII. Live happy in the Elysium of a 
virtuously composed mind, and let intellectual 
contents exceed the delights wherein mere 
pleasurists place their paradise. Bear not too 
slack reins upon pleasure, nor let complexion 
or contagion betray thee unto the exorbitancy 
of delight. Make pleasure thy recreation or 
intermissive relaxation, not thy Diana, life, 
and profession. Voluptuousness is as insati- 
able as covetousness. Tranquillity is better 
than jollity, and to appease pain than to invent 
pleasure. Our hard entrance into the world, 
our miserable going out of it, our sicknesses, 
disturbances, and sad rencounters in it, do 
clamorously tell us we come not into the world 
to run a race of delight, but to perform the 
sober acts and serious purposes of man ; which 
to omit were foully to miscarry in the advan- 
tage of humanity, to play away an uniterable 
life, and to have lived in vain. Forget not 
the capital end, and frustrate not the oppor- 
tunity of once living. Dream not of any kind 
of metempsychosis or transanimation, but into 
thine own body, and that after a long time ; 
and then also unto wail or bliss, according to 
thy first and fundamental life. Upon a curricle 
in this world depends a long course of the 
next, and upon a narrow scene here an endless 
expansion hereafter. In vain some think to 
have an end of their beings with their lives. 
Things cannot get out of their natures, or be 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 191 

or not be in despite of their constitutions. 
Rational existences in heaven perish not at 
all, and but partially on earth : that which is 
thus once, will in some way be always : the 
first living- human soul is still alive, and all 
Adam hath found no period. 

XXIV. Since the stars of heaven do differ i Cor. xy. 41. 
in glory ; since it hath pleased the Almighty of this^world 
hand to honour the north pole with lights Yf^^'^^. 
above the south ; since there are some stars the world 
so bright that they can hardly be looked on, *° ^°"^^' 
some so dim that they can scarce be seen, 

and vast numbers not to be seen at all, even 
by artificial eyes ; read thou the earth in 
heaven, and things below from above. Look 
contentedly upon the scattered difference of 
things, and expect not equality in lustre, 
dignity, or perfection, in regions or persons 
below; where numerous numbers must be 
content to stand like lacteous or nebulous 
stars, little taken notice of, or dim in their 
generations. All which may be contentedly 
allowable in the affairs and ends of this world, 
and in suspension unto what will be in the 
order of things hereafter, and the new system 
of mankind which will be in the world to 
come ; when the last may he the first, and the first St. Matt. 
the last ; when Lazarus may sit above Caesar, xlfi! 43.' 
and the just obscure on earth shall shine like 
the sun in heaven ; when personations shall 
cease, and histrionism of happiness be over; 
when reality shall rule, and all shall be as 
they shall be for ever. 

XXV. When the stoick said that life ^ would 
^ Vitam nemo acciperet, si daretur scientibus. — Seneca. 



192 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 



De Senec. 
xxiii. 

Job iii. I. 



The great not be accepted, if it were offered unto such 
this1?f^^^ as knew it, he spoke too meanly of that state 
exordiaf to ^^ being which placeth us in the form of men. 
a better. It morc depreciates the value of this life, that 
men would not live it over again ; for although 
they would still live on, yet few or none can 
endure to think of being twice the same men 
upon earth, and some had rather never have 
lived than to tread over their days once more. 
Cicero in a prosperous state had not the 
patience to think of beginning in a cradle again. 
Job would not only curse the day of his nati- 
vity, but also of his renascency, if he were to act 
over his disasters and the miseries of the dung- 
hill. But the greatest underweening of this 
life is to undervalue that, unto which this is 
but exordial or a passage leading unto it. The 
great advantage of this mean life is thereby 
to stand in a capacity of a better; for the 
colonies of heaven must be drawn from earth, 
and the sons of the first Adam are only heirs 
unto the second. Thus Adam came into this 
world with the power also of another; not 
only to replenish the earth, but the everlasting 
mansions of heaven. Where we were when 
the foundations of the earth were laid, when 
the morning stars sang together, and all the sons 
of God shouted for joy, He must answer who 
asked it; who understands entities of pre- 
ordination, and beings yet unbeing ; who hath 
in his intellect the ideal existences of things, 
and entities before their extances. Though 
it looks but like an imaginary kind of exist- 
ency, to be before we are ; yet since we are 
under the decree or prescience of a sure and 



Job xxxviii. 

4, 7- 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 193 

omnipotent power, it may be somewhat more 
than a nonentity, to be in that mind, unto 
which all things are present. 

XXVI. If the end of the world shall have That the 

• 1 n, . . ,1 • 1 r Isst flames 

the same roregoing signs, as the period or are deferred, 
empires, states, and dominions in it, that is, owing to the 

^ / ' ' ■' longanimity 

corruption or manners, inhuman degenerations, of God. 
and deluge of iniquities : it may be doubted, 
whether that final time be so far off, of whose 
day and hour there can be no prescience. But 
while all men doubt, and none can determine 
how long the world shall last, some may 
wonder that it hath spun out so long and unto 
our days. For if the Almighty had not deter- 
mined a fixed duration unto it, according to 
his mighty and merciful designments in it ; if 
he had not said unto it, as he did unto a part 
of it. Hitherto shall thou go and no farther ; if job 
we consider the incessant and cutting provoca- '^xxv'"- "• 
tions from the earth ; it is not without amaze- 
ment, how his patience hath permitted so long 
a continuance unto it; how he, who cursed 
the earth in the first days of the first man, and 
drowned it in the tenth generation after, should 
thus lastingly contend with flesh, and yet 
defer the last flames. For since he is sharply 
provoked every moment, yet punisheth to 
pardon, and forgives to forgive again; what 
patience could be content to act over such 
vicissitudes, or accept of repentances which 
must have after-penitences, his goodness can 
only tell us. And surely if the patience of 
heaven were not proportionable unto the pro- 
vocations from earth, there needed an inter- 
cessor not only for the sins, but the duration 
N 



194 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

of this world, and to lead it up unto the pre- 
Ps.cii, 25,26. sent computation. Without such a merciful 
longanimity, the heavens would never be so 
aged as to grow old like a garment. It were 
in vain to infer from the doctrine of the sphere, 
that the time might come, when Capella, a 
noble northern star, would have its tnotion 
in the equator; that the northern zodiacal 
signs would at length be the southern, the 
southern the northern, and Capricorn become 
our Cancer. However, therefore, the wisdom 
of the Creator hath ordered the duration of 
the world, yet since the end thereof brings the 
accomplishment of our happiness, since some 
would be content that it should have no end, 
since evil men and spirits do fear it may be too 
Rev. vi. 9, 10. short, since good men hope it may not be too 
long ; the prayer of the saints under the altar 
will be the supplication of the righteous 
world : that his mercy would abridge their 
languishing expectation, and hasten the ac- 
* complishment of their happy state to come, 
isa. ivH. 1. XXVII. Though good men are often taken 
good men ttway from the evil to come', though some in 
for the evil days have been glad that they were old, 

bettering. nor long to bchold the iniquities of a wicked 
world, or judgments threatened by them ; yet 
is it no small satisfaction unto honest minds, 
to leave the world in virtuous well-tempered 
times, under a prospect of good to come, and 
continuation of worthy ways acceptable unto 
God and man. Men who die in deplorable 
days, which they regretfully behold, have not 
their eyes closed with the like content ; while 
they cannot avoid the thoughts of proceeding 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 195 

or growing enormities displeasing unto that 
Spirit unto whom they are then going, whose 
honour they desire in all times and throughout 
all generations. If Lucifer could be freed 
from his dismal place, he would little care 
though the rest were left behind. Too many 
there may be of Nero's mind, who, if their own 
turn were served, would not regard what 
became of others ; and when they die them- 
selves, care not if all perish. But good men's 
wishes extend beyond their lives, for the 
happiness of times to come, and never to be 
known unto them. And, therefore, while so 
many question prayers for the dead, they 
charitably pray for those who are not yet 
alive ; they are not so enviously ambitious to 
go to heaven by themselves ; they cannot but 
humbly wish, that the little flock might be st. Luke 
greater, the narrow gate wider, and that, as ^*^'- 3^^^^ 
many are called, so not a few might be xxH. 14. 
chosen. 

XXVIII. That a greater number of angels 
remained in heaven, than fell from it, the 
schoolmen will tell us; that the number of 
blessed souls will not come short of that vast 
number of fallen spirits, we have the favourable 
calculation of others. What age or century 
hath sent most souls unto heaven, he can tell 
who vouchsafeth that honour unto them. 
Though the number of the blessed must be The world 
complete before the world can pass away ; yet ^^^ '" '^ 
since the world itself seems in the wane, and 
we have no such comfortable prognos ticks of 
latter times; since a greater part of time is 
spun than is to come, and the blessed roll 



196 CHRISTIAN MORALS 

already much replenished ; happy are those 
pieties, which solicitously look about, and 
hasten to make one of that already much 
filled and abbreviated list to come. 
The world a XXIX. Think not thy time short in this 
fnTternity! ^orld, since the world itself is not long. The 
created world is but a small parenthesis in 
eternity, and a short interposition, for a time, 
between such a state of duration as was before 
it and may be after it. And if we should 
allow of the old tradition, that the world 
should last six thousand years, it could scarce 
have the name of old, since the first man lived 
near a sixth part thereof, and seven Methu- 
Gen. y. s, 27. selahs would exceed its whole duration. 
However, to palliate the shortness of our 
lives, and somewhat to compensate our brief 
term in this world, it 's good to know as much 
as we can of it ; and also, so far as possibly in 
us lieth, to hold such a theory of times past, 
as though we had seen the same. He who 
Parallelisms hath thus Considered the world, as also how 
ages.^"^^' therein things long past have been answered 
by things present; how matters in one age 
have been acted over in another; and how 
Eccl. i. 9, 10. there is nothing new under the sun ; may conceive 
himself in some manner to have lived from 
the beginning, and be as old as the world; 
and if he should still live on, 'twould be but 
the same thing. 

XXX. Lastly; if length of days be thy 
portion, make it not thy expectation. Reckon 
not upon long life : think every day the last, 
and live always beyond thy account. He that 
so often surviveth his expectation lives many 



CHRISTIAN MORALS 197 

lives, and will scarce complain of the shortness 
of his days. Time past is gone like a shadow ; 
make time to come present. Approximate 
thy latter times by present apprehensions of 
them : be like a neighbour unto the grave, 
and think there is but little to come. And 
since there is something of us that will still Join both 
live on, join both lives together, and live in gerher°and 
one but for the other. He who thus ordereth {j^^ j" °"^ 
the purposes of this life, will never be far other. 
from the next, and is in some manner already 
in it, by a happy conformity, and close appre- 
hension of it. And if (as we have elsewhere 
declared) any have been so happy, as personally 
to understand Christian annihilation, ecstasy, 
exolution, transformation, the kiss of the 
spouse, and ingression into the divine shadow, 
according to mystical theology, they have 
already had an handsome anticipation of 
heaven ; the world is in a manner over, and 
the earth is ashes unto them. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

UPON OCCASION OF THE DEATH OF 
HIS INTIMATE FRIEND 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

Give me leave to wonder that news of this 
nature should have such heavy wings that you 
should hear so little concerning your dearest 
friend, and that I must make that unwilling 
repetition to tell you, ad portam rigidos calces 
extendit, that he is dead and buried, and by 
this time no puny among the mighty nations 
of the dead ; for though he left this world not 
very many days past, yet every hour you know 
largely addeth unto that dark society; and 
considering the incessant mortality of man- 
kind, you cannot conceive there dieth in the 
whole earth so few as a thousand an hour. 

Although at this distance you had no early 
account or particular of his death, yet your 
affection may cease to wonder that you had 
not some secret sense or intimation thereof 
by dreams, thoughtful whisperings, mer- 
curisms, airy nuncios or sympathetical in- 
sinuations, which many seem to have had at 
the death of their dearest friends : for since 
we find in that famous story, that spirits 
themselves were fain to tell their fellows at 
a distance that the great Antonio was dead, 
we have a sufficient excuse for our ignorance 
in such particulars, and must rest content 
with the common road, and Appian way of 
knowledge by information. Though the 



202 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

uncertainty of the end of this world hath 
confounded all human predictions; yet they 
who shall live to see the sun and moon 
darkened and the stars to fall from heaven, 
will hardly be deceived in the advent of 
the last day; and therefore strange it is, 
that the common fallacy of consumptive 
persons who feel not themselves dying, and 
therefore still hope to live, should also reach 
their friends in perfect health and judgment; 
— that you should be so little acquainted with 
Plautus's sick complexion, or that almost an 
Hippocratical face should not alarum you to 
higher fears, or rather despair, of his continua- 
tion in such an emaciated state, wherein 
medical predictions fail not, as sometimes in 
acute diseases, and wherein 'tis as dangerous 
to be sentenced by a physician as a judge. 

Upon my first visit I was bold to tell them 
who had not let fall all hopes of his recovery, 
that in my sad opinion he was not like to be- 
hold a grasshopper, much less to pluck another 
fig ; and in no long time after seemed to dis- 
cover that odd mortal symptom in him not 
mentioned by Hippocrates, that is, to lose his 
own face, and look like some of his near 
relations; for he maintained not his proper 
countenance, but looked like his uncle, the 
lines of whose face lay deep and invisible in 
his healthful visage before : for as from our 
beginning we run through variety of looks, 
before we come to consistent and settled faces; 
so before our end, by sick and languishing 
alterations, we put on new visages : and in 
our retreat to earth, may fall upon such looks 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 203 

which from community of seminal originals 
were before latent in us. 

He was fruitlessly put in hope of advantage 
by change of air, and imbibing the pure aerial 
nitre of these parts ; and therefore, being so 
far spent, he quickly found Sardinia in Tivoli,i 
and the most healthful air of little effect, 
where death had set her broad arrow ; ^ for he 
lived not unto the middle of May, and con- 
firmed the observation of Hippocrates of that Hipioc. 
mortal time of the year when the leaves of the ^^^^^^• 
fig-tree resemble a daw's claw. He is happily 
seated who lives in places whose air, earth, 
and water promote not the infirmities of his 
weaker parts, or is early removed into regions 
that correct them. He that is tabidly inclined, 
were unwise to pass his days in Portugal : 
cholical persons will find little comfort in 
Austria or Vienna: he that is weak-legged 
must not be in love with Rome, nor an infirm 
head with Venice or Paris. Death hath not 
only particular stars in heaven, but malevolent 
places on earth, which single out our infirmi- 
ties, and strike at our weaker parts ; in which 
concern passager and migrant birds have the 
great advantages; who are naturally consti- 
tuted for distant habitations, whom no seas nor 
places limit, but in their appointed seasons 
will visit us from Greenland and Mount Atlas, Bellonius 
and as some think, even from the Antipodes. ^^ Avibus. 

Though we could not have his life, yet we 
missed not our desires in his soft departure, 

^ Cvm, mors venerit, in medio Tihure Sardinia est. 
2 In the king's forests they set the figure of a broad 
arrow upon trees that are to be cut down. 



204 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

which was scarce an expiration ; and his end 
not unlike his beginning, when the salient 
point scarce affords a sensible motion, and his 
departure so like unto sleep, that he scarce 
needed the civil ceremony of closing his eyes ; 
contrary unto the common way, wherein death 
draws up, sleep lets fall the eyelids. With 
what strift and pains we came into the world 
we know not ; but 'tis commonly no easy 
matter to get out of it : yet if it could be 
made out, that such who have easy nativities 
have commonly hard deaths, and contrarily; 
his departure was so easy, that we might 
justly suspect his birth was of another nature, 
and that some Juno sat cross-legged at his 
nativity. 

Besides his soft death, the incurable state 
of his disease might somewhat extenuate your 
sorrow, who know that monsters but seldom 
happen,! miracles more rarely, in physick.^ 
Angelus Victorius gives a serious account of a 
consumptive, hectical, phthisical woman, who 
was suddenly cured by the intercession of 
Ignatius. We read not of any in Scripture 
who in this case applied unto our Saviour, 
though some may be contained in that large 
St. Matt. expression, that He went about Galilee healing 
*^- 23- all manner of sickness and all manner of diseases. 

Amulets, spells, sigils, and incantations, prac- 
tised in other diseases, are seldom pretended 
in this ,• and we find no sigil in the Archidoxis 
of Paracelsus to cure an extreme consumption 

1 Monstra contingvmt in Medicina. — Hippoc. 

2 Strange and rare escapes there happen sometimes in 
physic— ^wyeii ViGtorii ConsuUationes. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 205 

or marasmus, which, if other diseases fail, will 
put a period unto long livers, and at last 
makes dust of all. And therefore the stoicks 
could not but think that the fiery principle 
would wear out all the rest, and at last make 
an end of the world, which notwithstanding 
without such a lingering period the Creator 
may effect at his pleasure : and to make an 
end of all things on earth, and our planetical 
system of the world, he need but put out the 
sun. 

I was not so curious to entitle the stars 
unto any concern of his death, yet could not 
but take notice that he died when the moon 
was in motion from the meridian; at which 
time an old Italian long ago would persuade 
me that the greatest part of men died : but 
herein I confess I could never satisfy my 
curiosity ; although from the time of tides in 
places upon or near the sea, there may be 
considerable deductions ; and Pliny ^ hath an 
odd and remarkable passage concerning the 
death of men and animals upon the recess or 
ebb of the sea. However, certain it is, he 
died in the dead and deep part of the night, 
when Nox might be most apprehensibly said 
to be the daughter of Chaos, the mother of 
Sleep and Death, according to old genealogy ; 
and so went out of this world about that hour 
when our blessed Saviour entered it, and about 
what time many conceive He will return again 
unto it. Cardan hath a peculiar and no hard 

1 Aristoteles nullum animal nisi csstu recedente expirare 
affirm/it: observatum id multum in Gallico Oceano et 
dimtaxat in Homine compertvm, lib. ii. cap. 101. 



206 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

observation from a man's hand to know 
whether he was born in the day or night, 
which I confess holdeth in my own ; and 
ScaHger to that purpose hath another from 
the tip of the ear.^ Most men are begotten 
in the night, animals in the day ; but whether 
more persons have been born in the night or 
the day, were a curiosity undecidable, though 
more have perished by violent deaths in the 
day; yet in natural dissolutions both times 
may hold an indifFerency, at least but contin- 
gent inequality. The whole course of time 
runs out in the nativity and death of things ; 
which, whether they happen by succession or 
coincidence, are best computed by the natural 
not artificial day. 

That Charles the Fifth was crowned upon 
the day of his nativity, it being in his own 
power so to order it, makes no singular ani- 
madversion ; but that he should also take King 
Francis prisoner upon that day, was an unex- 
pected coincidence, which made the same 
remarkable. Antipater, who had an anniver- 
sary fever every year upon his birthday, 
needed no astrological revolution to know 
what day he should die on. When the fixed 
stars have made a revolution unto the points 
from whence they first set out, some of the 
ancients thought the world would have an 
end ; which was a kind of dying upon the day 
of his nativity. Now the disease prevailing 

1 Axiris pars pcndula Lohus dicitur, non omnibus ca 
pars est aurihus ; non enim its qui noctu nati sunt, sed 
qui interdiu, maxima ex parte. — Com. in Aristot. de 
Animal, lib. i. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND ^ 

and swiftly advancing about the time of liV 
nativity, some were of opinion that he woulci ^ 

leave the world on the day he entered into it i '^^ 

but this being a lingering disease, and creeping) 
softly on, nothing critical was found or ex- ' 
pected, and he died not before fifteen days 
after. Nothing is more common with infants 
than to die on the day of their nativity, to 
behold the worldly hours, and but the fractions 
thereof; and even to perish before their 
nativity in the hidden world of the womb, and 
before their good angel is conceived to under- 
take them. But in persons who outlive many 
years, and when there are no less than three 
hundred and sixty-five days to determine their 
lives in every year ; that the first day should 
make the last, that the tail of the snake should 
return into its mouth precisely at that time, 
and they should wind up upon the day of their 
nativity,^ is indeed a remarkable coincidence, 
which, though astrology hath taken witty 
pains to salve, yet hath it been very wary in 
making predictions of it. 

In this consumptive condition and remark- 
able extenuation, he came to be almost half 
himself, and left a great part behind him, 
which he carried not to the grave. And 
though that story of Duke John Ernestus 
Mansfield be not so easily swallowed, that at Turkish 
his death his heart was found not to be so big '^ °^^' 
as a nut ; yet if the bones of a good skeleton 
weigh little more than twenty pounds, his in- 
wards and flesh remaining could make no 
bouffage, but a light bit for the grave. I 
1 According to the Egyptian hieroglyphick. 



k 



208 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 



the poet 
'ante, his 
escription. 



De ntorbio 
Puerorutn. 



The deity 
of death 
or fate. 



Ulmus de 
usu barbce 
humance. 



never more lively beheld the starved characters 
of Dante in any living face ; an aruspex might 
have read a lecture upon him without extent- 
eration, his flesh being so consumed, that he 
might, in a manner, have discerned his bowels 
without opening of him : so that to be carried, 
sextd cen)ice, to the grave, was but a civil un- 
necessity ; and the complements of the coffin 
might outweigh the subject of it. 

Omnibonus Ferrari us in mortal dysenteries 
of children looks for a spot behind the ear : 
in consumptive diseases some eye the com- 
plexion of moles; Cardan eagerly views the 
nails, some the lines of the hand, the thenar 
or muscle of the thumb ; some are so curious 
as to observe the depth of the throat-pit, how 
the proportion varieth of the small of the legs 
unto the calf, or the compass of the neck unto 
the circumference of the head : but all these, 
with many more, were so drowned in a mortal 
visage, and last face of Hippocrates, that a 
weak physiognomist might say at first eye, 
this was a face of earth, and that Morta had 
set her hard seal upon his temples, easily 
perceiving what caricatura^ draughts death 
makes upon pined faces, and unto what an 
unknown degree a man may live backward. 

Though the beard be only made a distinc- 
tion of sex, and sign of masculine heat by 
Ulmus, yet the precocity and early growth 
thereof in him, was not to be liked in refer- 
ence unto long life. Lewis, that virtuous but 



1 When men's faces are drawn with resemblance to 
some other animals, the Italians call it to be drawn in 
ca/ricatv/ra. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 209 

unfortunate king of Hungary, who lost his 

life at the battle of Mohacz, was said to be 

born without a skin, to have bearded at fifteen, 

and to have shown some grey hairs about 

twenty ; from whence the diviners conjectured 

that he would be spoiled of his kingdom, and 

have but a short life : but hairs make fallible 

predictions, and many temples early grey 

have outlived the psalmist's period.^ Hairs 

which have most amused me have not been 

on the face or head, but on the back, and not 

in men but children, as I long ago observed 

in that endemial distemper of little children 

in Languedoc, called the morgellons, wherein See Picotus 

they critically break out with harsh hairs on i'^/sma. 

their backs, which takes off the unquiet 

symptoms of the disease, and delivers them 

from coughs and convulsions. 

The Egyptian mummies that I have seen, 
have had their mouths open, and somewhat 
gaping, which affordeth a good opportunity to 
view and observe their teeth^ wherein 'tis not 
easy to find any wanting or decayed ; and 
therefore in Egypt, where one man practised 
but one operation, or the diseases but of 
single parts, it must needs be a barren pro- 
fession to confine unto that of drawing of 
teeth, and little better than to have been 
tooth-drawer unto King Pyrrhus, who had but 
two in his head.^ How the Banyans of India 
maintain the integrity of those parts, I find 
not particularly observed ; who notwithstand- 

1 The life of a man is threescore and ten. 

2 His upper and lower jaw being solid, and without 
distinct rows of teeth. 

O 



210 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

ing have an advantage of their preservation 
by abstaining from all flesh, and employing 
their teeth in such food unto which they may 
seem at first framed, from their figure and 
conformation : but sharp and corroding rheums 
had so early mouldered those rocks and 
hardest part of his fabrick, that a man might 
well conceive that his years were never like 
to double or twice tell over his teeth. ^ Cor- 
ruption had dealt more severely with them 
than sepulchral fires and smart flames with 
those of burnt bodies of old ; for in the burnt 
fragments of urns which I have inquired into, 
although I seem to find few incisors or 
shearers, yet the dog teeth and grinders do 
notably resist those fires. 

In the years of his childhood he had 
languished under the disease of his country, 
the rickets; after which, notwithstanding, 
many have become strong and active men ; 
but whether any have attained unto very 
great years, the disease is scarce so old as to 
afford good observation. Whether the children 
of the English plantations be subject unto the 
same infirmity, may be worth the observing. 
Whether lameness and halting do still increase 
among the inhabitants of Rovigno in Istria, 
I know not ; yet scarce twenty years ago 
Monsieur du Loyr observed that a third part 
of that people halted : but too certain it is, 
that the rickets encreaseth among us ; the 
small-pox grows more pernicious than the 
great : the king's purse knows that the king's 

1 Twice tell over his teeth, never live to threescore 
years. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 211 

evil grows more common. Quartan agues are 
become no strangers in Ireland : more common 
and mortal in England : and though the 
ancients gave that disease ^ very good words, 
yet now that bell makes no strange sound 
which rings out for the effects thereof. 

Some think there were few consumptions 
in the old world, when men lived much upon 
milk ; and that the ancient inhabitants of 
this island were less troubled with coughs 
when they went naked and slept in caves and 
woods, than men now in chambers and feather 
beds. Plato will tell us, that there was no 
such disease as a catarrh in Homer's time, 
and that it was but new in Greece in his age. 
Polydore Virgil delivereth that pleurisies were 
rare in England, who lived but in the days of 
Henry the Eighth. Some will allow no 
diseases to be new, others think that many 
old ones are ceased : and that such which are 
esteemed new, will have but their time : 
however, the mercy of God hath scattered 
the great heap of diseases, and not loaded 
any one country with all : some may be new 
in one country which have been old in 
another. New discoveries of the earth dis- 
cover new diseases : for besides the common 
swarm, there are endemial and local infirmities 
proper unto certain regions, which in the 
whole earth make no small number: and if 
Asia, Africa, and America should bring in 
their list. Pandora's box would swell, and 
there must be a strange pathology. 

1 ' A<T<pa\4(rTaTos Kal p-rjiaTos, securissima et facillima. 
Hippoc. Pro Fehre qimrtana raro sonat campana. 



212 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

Most men expected to find a consumed 
kell, empty and bladder-like guts, livid and 
marbled lungs^ and a withered pericardium in 
this exsuccous corpse : but some seemed too 
much to wonder that two lobes of his lungs 
adhered unto his side ; for the like I have 
often found in bodies of no suspected con- 
sumptions or difficulty of respiration. And 
the same more often happeneth in men than 
other animals ; and some think in women 
than in men : but the most remarkable I have 
met with was in a man, after a cough of 
almost fifty years, in whom all the lobes 
So A. F. adhered unto the pleura, and each lobe unto 
another; who having also been much troubled 
with the gout, brake the rule of Cardan,^ and 
died of the stone in the bladder. Aristotle 
makes a query, why some animals cough, as 
man ; some not, as oxen. If coughing be 
taken as it consisteth of a natural and volun- 
tary motion, including expectoration and 
spitting out, it may be as proper unto man as 
bleeding at the nose ; otherwise we find that 
Vegetius and rural writers have not left so 
many medicines in vain against the coughs of 
cattle ; and men who perish by coughs die 
the death of sheep, cats, and lions : and J: 
though birds have no midriff, yet we meet 
with divers remedies in Arrianus against the 
coughs of hawks. And though it might be 
thought that all animals who have lungs do 
cough ; yet in cetaceous fishes, who have large 

1 Cardan in his Encomium Podagrce, reckoneth this 
among the Dona Podar/r(v, that they are delivered thereby 
from the ph thy sis and stone in the bladder. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 213 

and strong lungs, the same is not observed ; 
nor yet in oviparous quadrupeds : and in the 
greatest thereof, the crocodile, although we 
read much of their tears, we find nothing of 
that motion. 

From the thoughts of sleep, when the soul 
was conceived nearest unto divinity, the 
ancients erected an art of divination, wherein 
while they too widely expatiated in loose and 
inconsequent conjectures, Hippocrates wisely Z)^/«- 
considered dreams as they presaged alterations *"'"''" 
in the body, and so afforded hints toward the 
preservation of health, and prevention of 
diseases ; and therein was so serious as to 
advise alteration of diet, exercise, sweating, 
bathing, and vomiting; and also so religious 
as to order prayers and supplications unto 
respective deities ; in good dreams unto Sol, 
Jupiter ccelestis, Jupiter opulentus, Minerva, 
Mercurius, and Apollo ; in bad unto Tellus 
and the Heroes. 

And therefore I could not but take notice 
how his female friends were irrationally curious 
so strictly to examine his dreams, and in this 
low state to hope for the phantasms of health. 
He was now past the healthful dreams of the 
sun, moon, and stars in their clarity and proper 
courses. 'Twas too late to dream of flying, of 
limpid fountains, smooth waters, white vest- 
ments, and fruitful green trees, which are the 
visions of healthful sleeps, and at good dis- 
tance from the grave. 

And they were also too deeply dejected 
that he should dream of his dead friends, 
inconsequently divining that he would not 



214 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

be long from them ; for strange it was not 
that he should sometimes dream of the dead, 
whose thoughts run always upon death ; 
beside, to dream of the dead, so they appear 
not in dark habits, and take nothing away 
from us, in Hippocrates his sense was of good 
signification ; for we live by the dead, and 
everything is or must be so before it becomes 
our nourishment. And Cardan, who dreamed 
that he discoursed with his dead father in the 
moon, made thereof no mortal interpretation ; 
and even to dream that we are dead, was no 
condemnable phantasm in old oneirocriticism, 
as having a signification of liberty, vacuity 
from cares, exemption and freedom from 
troubles unknown unto the dead. 

Some dreams I confess may admit of easy 
and feminine exposition: he who dreamed 
that he could not see his right shoulder, might 
easily fear to lose the sight of his right eye ; 
he that before a journey dreamed that his feet 
were cut off, had a plain warning not to under- 
take his intended journey. But why to dream 
of lettuce should presage some ensuing disease, 
why to eat figs should signify foolish talk, why 
to eat eggs great trouble, and to dream of 
blindness should be so highly commended, 
according to the oneirocritical verses of 
Astrampsychus and Nicephorus, I shall leave 
unto your divination. 

He was willing to quit the world alone and 
altogether, leaving no earnest behind him for 
corruption or after-grave, having small content 
in that common satisfaction to survive or live 
in another, but amply satisfied that his disease 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 215 

should die with himself, nor revive in a pos- 
terity to puzzle physick, and make sad me- 
mentoes of their parent hereditary. Leprosy 
awakes not sometimes before forty, the gout 
and stone often later; but consumptive and 
tabid roots sprout more early,^ and at the 
fairest make seventeen years of our life 
doubtful before that age. They that enter 
the world with original diseases as well as sin, 
have not only common mortality but sick 
traductions to destroy them, make commonly 
short courses, and live not at length but in 
figures ; so that a sound Caesarean nativity ^ 
may out-last a natural birth, and a knife may 
sometimes make way for a more lasting fruit 
than a midwife ; which makes so few infants 
now able to endure the old test of the river,^ 
and many to have feeble children who could 
scarce have been married at Sparta, and those 
provident states who studied strong and health- 
ful generations ; which happen but contin- 
gently in mere pecuniary matches or marriages 
made by the candle, wherein notwithstanding 
there is little redress to be hoped from an 
astrologer or a lawyer, and a good discerning 
physician were like to prove the most success- 
ful counsellor. 

Julius Scaliger, who in a sleepless fit of the 
gout could make two hundred verses in a 
night, would have but five plain words upon 



^ Tabes maximo contingunt ah anno decimo octavo ad 
trigesimum quintum. — Hippoc. 

2 A sound child cut out of the body of the mother. 

' Natos ad Jlumina primum deserimus scevoqiie gelu 
duramus et undis. 



216 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

his tomb.^ And this serious person, though 
no minor wit, left the poetry of his epitaph 
unto others : either unwiUing to commend 
himself or to be judged by a distich, and per- 
haps considering how unhappy great poets 
have been in versifying their own epitaphs : 
wherein Petrarca, Dante, and Ariosto, have 
so unhappily failed, that if their tombs should 
out-last their works, posterity would find so 
little of Apollo on them, as to mistake them 
for Ciceronian poets. 

In this deliberate and creeping progress 
unto the grave, he was somewhat too young 
and of too noble a mind, to fall upon that 
stupid symptom observable in divers persons 
near their journey's end, and which may be 
reckoned among the mortal symptoms of their 
last disease ; that is, to become more narrow- 
minded, miserable, and tenacious, unready to 
part with anything, when they are ready to 
part with all, and afraid to want when they 
have no time to spend; meanwhile physicians, 
who know that many are mad but in a single 
depraved imagination, and one prevalent 
decipiency; and that beside and out of such 
single deliriums a man may meet with sober 
actions and good sense in bedlam ; cannot but 
smile to see the heirs and concerned relations 
gratulating themselves in the sober departure 
of their friends ; and though they behold such 
mad covetous passages, content to think they 
die in good understanding, and in their sober 
senses. 

1 Julii Gcesaris ScaZigeri, qvod fuit. Joseph Scaliger 
in vita patris. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 217 

Avarice, which is not only infidelity but 
idolatry, either from covetous progeny or 
questuary education, had no root in his 
breast, who made good works the expression 
of his faith, and was big with desires unto 
publick and lasting charities ; and surely where 
good wishes and charitable intentions exceed 
abilities, theorical beneficency may be more 
than a dream. They build not castles in the 
air who would build churches on earth : and 
though they leave no such structures here, 
may lay good foundations in heaven. In brief, 
his life and death were such, that I could not 
blame them who wished the like, and almost 
to have been himself; almost, I say; for 
though we may wish the prosperous appurten- 
ances of others, or to be another in his happy 
accidents, yet so intrinsical is every man unto 
himself, that some doubt may be made, 
whether any would exchange his being, or 
substantially become another man. 

He had wisely seen the world at home and 
abroad, and thereby observed under what 
variety men are deluded in the pursuit of 
that which is not here to be found. And 
although he had no opinion of reputed 
felicities below, and apprehended men widely 
out in the estimate of such happiness ; yet his 
sober contempt of the world wrought no 
Democritism or cynicism, no laughing or 
snarling at it, as well understanding there 
are not felicities in this world to satisfy a 
serious mind ; and therefore, to soften the 
stream of our lives, we are fain to take in the 
reputed contentations of this world, to unite 



218 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

with the crowd in their beatitudes, and to 
make ourselves happy by consortion, opinion, 
or co-existimation : for strictly to separate 
from received and customary felicities, and to 
confine unto the rigour of realities, were to 
contract the consolation of our beings unto 
too uncomfortable circumscriptions. 

Not to fear death, nor desire it,^ was short 
of his resolution : to be dissolved, and be with 
Christ, was his dying ditty. He conceived his 
thread long, in no long course of years, and 
when he had scarce outlived the second 
life of Lazarus ; ^ esteeming it enough to 
approach the years of his Saviour, who so 
ordered His own human state, as not to be 
old upon earth. 

But to be content with death may be better 
than to desire it ; a miserable life may make 
us wish for death, but a virtuous one to rest 
in it ; which is the advantage of those resolved 
Christians, who looking on death not only as 
the sting, but the period and end of sin, the 
horizon and isthmus between this life and a 
better, and the death of this world but as a 
nativity of another, do contentedly submit 
unto the common necessity, and envy not 
Enoch or Elias. 

Not to be content with life is the unsatis- 
factory state of those which destroy them- 
selves ; 3 who being afraid to live, run blindly 

1 Summum nee metuas diem nee optes. 

2 Who upon some accounts, and traditions, is said to 
have lived thirty years after he was raised by our 
Saviour. — Baronius. 

2 In the speech of Vulteius in Lucan, animating his 
soldiers in a great struggle to kill one another. Decernite 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 219 

upon their own deaths which no man fears by 
experience : and the Stoicks had a notable 
doctrine to take away the fear thereof; that 
is, in such extremities, to desire that which is 
not to be avoided, and wish what might be 
feared ; and so made evils voluntary, and to 
suit with their own desires, which took oif the 
terror of them. 

But the ancient martyrs were not encouraged 
by such fallacies; who, though they feared 
not death, were afraid to be their own 
executioners; and therefore thought it more 
wisdom to crucify their lusts than their bodies, 
to circumcise than stab their hearts, and to 
mortify than kill themselves. 

His willingness to leave this world about 
that age, when most men think they may best 
enjoy it, though paradoxical unto worldly ears, 
was not strange unto mine, who have so often 
observed, that many, though old, oft stick fast 
unto the world, and seem to be drawn like 
Cacus's oxen, backward, with great struggling 
and reluctancy unto the grave. The long 
habit of living makes mere men more hardly to 
part with life, and all to be nothing, but what 
is to come. To live at the rate of the old 
world, when some could scarce remember 
themselves young, may afford no better 
digested death than a more moderate period. 
Many would have thought it an happiness to 
have had their lot of life in some notable con- 
junctures of ages past; but the uncertainty of 

Lethum et metus omnis abest, cupias quodcunque necesse 
est. All fear is over, do but resolve to die, and make your 
desires meet necessity. 



220 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

future times hath tempted few to make a part 
in ages to come. And surely he that hath 
taken the true altitude of things, and rightly 
calculated the degenerate state of this age, is 
not like to envy those that shall live in the 
next, much less three or four hundred years 
hence, when no man can comfortably imagine 
what face this world will carry : and therefore 
since every age makes a step unto the end of 
all things, and the scripture affords so hard a 
character of the last times ; quiet minds will 
be content with their generations, and rather 
bless ages past than be ambitious of those to 
come. 

Though age had set no seal upon his face, 
yet a dim eye might clearly discover fifty in 
his actions ; and therefore, since wisdom is 
the grey hair, and an unspotted life old age ; 
although his years come short, he might have 
been said to have held up with longer livers, 
Wisd. iv. and to have been Solomon's old man. And 
surely if we deduct all these days of our life 
which we might wish unlived, and which abate 
the comfort of those we now live ; if we 
reckon up only those days which God hath 
accepted of our lives, a life of good years will 
hardly be a span long : the son in this sense 
may out-live the father, and none be 
climacterically old. He that early arriveth 
unto the parts and prudence of age, is happily 
old without the uncomfortable attendants of 
it ; and 'tis superfluous to live unto grey hairs, 
when in a precocious temper we anticipate the 
virtues of them. In brief, he cannot be 
accounted young who out-liveth the old man. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 221 

He that hath early arrived unto the measure 
of a perfect stature in Christ, hath already 
fulfilled the prime and longest intention of his 
being: and one day lived after the perfect 
rule of piety, is to be preferred before sinning 
immortality. 

Although he attained not unto the years of 
his predecessors, yet he wanted not those 
preserving virtues which confirm the thread of 
weaker constitutions. Cautelous chastity and 
crafty sobriety were far from him ; those jewels 
were paragon, without flaw, hair, ice, or cloud 
in him : which affords me an hint to proceed 
in these good wishes, and few mementoes unto 
you. 

Tread softly and circumspectedly in this 
funambulous track and narrow path of good- 
ness : pursue virtue virtuously : be sober and 
temperate not to preserve- your body in a 
sufficiency to wanton ends ; not to spare your 
purse ; not to be free from the infamy of 
common transgressors that way, and thereby 
to balance or palliate obscure and closer vices ; 
nor simply to enjoy health (by all which you 
may leaven good actions, and render virtues 
disputable); but in one word, that you may 
truly serve God, which every sickness will tell 
you, you cannot well do without health. The 
sick man's sacrifice is but a lame oblation. 
Pious treasures, laid up in healthful days, 
excuse the defects of sick non-performances ; 
without which we must needs look back with 
anxiety upon the lost opportunities of health ; 
and may have cause rather to envy than pity 
the ends of penitent malefactors, who go with 



222 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

clear parts unto the last act of their lives, and 
in the integrity of their faculties return their 
spirit unto God that gave it. 

Consider whereabout thou art in Cebes his 
Table, or that old philosophical pbiax of the 
life of man : whether thou art still in the road 
of uncertainties; whether thou hast yet 
entered the narrow gate, got up the hill, and 
asperous way, which leadeth unto the house 
of sanity ; or taken that purifying potion from 
the hand of sincere erudition, which may send 
thee clear and pure away unto a virtuous and 
happy life. 

In this virtuous voyage let not disapoint- 
ment cause despondency, nor difficulty despair. 
Think not that you are sailing from Lima to 
Manilla,^ wherein thou may'st tie up the 
rudder, and sleep before the wind ; but expect 
rough seas, flaws, and contrary blasts : and 'tis 
well, if by many cross tacks and veerings, thou 
arrivest at thy port. 

Sit not down in the popular seats and common 
level of virtues, but endeavour to make them 
heroical. Offer not only peace-offerings but 
holocausts unto God. To serve Him singly to 
serve ourselves, were too partial a piece of 
piety, nor likely to place us in the highest 
mansions of glory. 

He that is chaste and continent not to 
impair his strength, or terrified by contagion 
will hardly be heroically virtuous. Adjourn 
not that virtue until those years when Cato 
could lend out his wife, and impotent satyrs 

1 Through the Pacifick Sea, with a constant gale from the 
East. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 223 

write satires against lust; but be chaste in 
thy flaming days^ when Alexander dared not 
trust his eyes upon the fair daughters of 
Darius, and when so many think there is no 
other way but Origen's.^ 

Be charitable before wealth makes thee 
covetous, and lose not the glory of the mite. 
If riches increase, let thy mind hold pace with 
them ; and think it not enough to be liberal, 
but munificent. Though a cup of cold water 
from some hand may not be without its reward, 
yet stick not thou for wine and oil for the 
wounds of the distressed ; and treat the poor, 
as our Saviour did the multitude, to the reliques 
of some baskets. 

Trust not to the omnipotency of gold, or 
say unto it. Thou art my confidence. Kiss not 
thy hand when thou beholdest that terrestial 
sun, nor bore thy ear unto its servitude. A 
slave unto mammon makes no servant unto 
God. Covetousness cracks the sinews of faith ; 
numbs the apprehension of anything above 
sense ; and, only affected with the certainty of 
things present, makes a perad venture of things 
to come ; lives but unto one world, nor hopes 
but fears another ; makes our own death sweet 
unto others, bitter unto ourselves ; gives a dry 
funeral scenical mourning, and no wet eyes at 
the grave. 

If avarice be thy vice, yet make it not thy 
punishment. Miserable men commiserate 
not themselves, bowelless unto themselves, 
and merciless unto their own bowels. Let 
the fruition of things bless the possession of 
J Who is said to have emasculated himself. 



224 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

them, and take no satisfaction in dying but 
living rich. For since thy good works, not 
thy goods, will follow thee : since riches are 
an appurtenance of life, and no dead man is 
rich ; to famish in plenty, and live poorly to 
die rich, were a multiplying improvement in 
madness, and use upon use in folly. 

Persons lightly dipt, not grained in generous 
honesty, are but pale in goodness, and faint- 
hued in sincerity. But be thou what thou 
virtuously art, and let not the ocean wash 
away thy tincture. Stand magnetically upon 
that axis, where prudent simplicity hath fixt 
thee ; and let no temptation invert the poles 
of thy honesty : and, that vice may be uneasy 
and even monstrous unto thee, let iterated 
good acts and long confirmed habits make 
virtue natural, or a second nature in thee. 
And since few or none prove eminently 
virtuous, but from some advantageous founda- 
tions in their temper and natural inclinations, 
study thyself betimes, and early find what 
nature bids thee to be, or tells thee what thou 
mayest be. They who thus timely descend 
into themselves, cultivating the good seeds 
which nature hath set in them, and improving 
their prevalent inclinations to perfection, 
become not shrubs but cedars in their genera- 
tion ; and to be in the form of the best of the 
bad or the worst of the good, will be no satis- 
faction unto them. 

Let not the law of thy country be the non 
ultra of thy honesty; nor think that always 
good enough which the law will make good. 
Narrow not the law of charity, equity, mercy ; 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 225 

join gospel righteousness with legal right ; be 
not a mere Gamaliel in the faith, but let the 
sermon in the mount be thy Targum unto the 
law of Sinai. 

Make not the consequences of virtue the 
ends thereof. Be not beneficent for a name or 
cymbal of applause ; nor exact and punctual 
in commerce for the advantages of trust and 
credit, which attend the reputation of just and 
true dealing : for such rewards, though un- 
sought for, plain virtue will bring with her, 
whom all men honour, though they pursue 
not. To have other by-ends in good actions 
sours laudable performances, which must have 
deeper roots, motions and instigations, to give 
them the stamp of virtues. 

Though human infirmity may betray thy 
heedless days into the popular ways of ex- 
travagancy, yet let not thine own depravity, 
or the torrent of vitious times, carry thee into 
desperate enormities in opinions, manners or 
actions. If thou hast dipped thy foot in the 
river, yet venture not over Rubicon : run not 
into extremities from whence there is no re- 
gression, nor be ever so closely shut up within 
the holds of vice and iniquity, as not to find 
some escape by a postern of resipiscency. 

Owe not thy humility unto humiliation by 
adversity, but look humbly down in that state 
when others look upward upon thee. Be 
patient in the age of pride and days of will 
and impatiency, when men live but by in- 

Iy tervals of reason under the sovereignty of 
1^ humour and passion, when 'tis in the power 
kof every one to transform thee out of thyself, 



226 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

and put thee into the short madness. If you 
cannot imitate Job, yet come not short of 
Socrates,^ and those patient pagans who tired 
the tongues of their enemies^ while they per- 
ceived they spit their mahce at brazen walls 
and statues. 

Let age^ not envy, draw wrinkles on thy 
cheeks ; be content to be envied, but envy 
not. Emulation may be plausible, and indig- 
nation allowable, but admit no treaty with 
that passion which no circumstance can make 
good. A displacency at the good of others 
because they enjoy it, although we do not 
want it, is an absurd depravity, sticking fast 
unto human nature from its primitive corrup- 
tion ; which he that can well subdue, were a 
Christian of the first magnitude, and for aught 
I know, may have one foot already in heaven. 

While thou so hotly disclaimest the devil, 
be not guilty of diabolism. Fall not into one 
name with that unclean spirit, nor act his 
nature whom thou so much abhorrest; that 
is, to accuse, calumniate, backbite, whisper, 
detract, or sinistrously interpret others : de- 
generous depravities, and narrow-minded vices 
not only below St. Paul's noble Christian but 
Aristotle's true gentleman.^ Trust not with 
some that the Epistle of St. James is apocryphal, 
and so read with less fear that stabbing truth, 
that in company with this vice, thy religion is 
in vain. Moses broke the tables without 
breaking of the law ; but where charity is 
broke, the law itself is shattered, which cannot 

1 Ira furor hrcvis est. 

2 See Arist. Ethics, chapter of Magnanimity. 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 227 

be whole without love, that is the fulfilling of 
it. Look humbly upon thy virtues ; and 
though thou art rich in some, yet think thy- 
self poor and naked without that crowning 
grace, which thinketh no evil, which envieth not, 
which heareth, helieveth, hopeth, endureth all 
things. With these sure graces, while busy 
tongues are crying out for a drop of cold 
water, mutes may be in happiness, and sing 
the trisagium ^ in Heaven. 

Let not the sim in Capricorn ^ go down upon 
thy wrath, but write thy wrongs in water. 
Draw the curtain of night upon injuries, shut 
them up in the tower of oblivion,^ and let 
them be as though they had not been. For- 
give thine enemies totally, and without any 
reserve of hope that however God will revenge 
thee. 

Be substantially great in thyself, and more 
than thou appearest unto others ; and let the 
world be deceived in thee, as they are in the 
lights of heaven. Hang early plummets upon 
the heels of pride, and let ambition have but 
an epicycle or narrow circuit in thee. Measure 
not thyself by thy morning shadow, but by 
the extent of thy grave ; and reckon thyself 
above the earth by the line thou must be 
contented with under it. Spread not into 
boundless expansions either of designs or 

1 Holy, holy, holy. 

2 Even when the days are shortest. 

3 Alluding to the Tower of Oblivion mentioned by 
Procopius, which was the name of a tower of imprison- 
ment among the Persians ; whosoever was put therein, 
he was as it were buried alive, and it was death for any 
but to name it. 



228 A LETTER TO A FRIEND 

desires. Think not that mankind liveth but 
for a few ; and that the rest are born but to 
serve the ambition of those who make but 
flies of men and wildernesses of whole nations. 
Swell not into actions which imbroil and con- 
found the earth ; but be one of those violent 
Matt. xi. 12. ones which force the kingdom of heaven. If 
thou must needs reign, be Zeno's king, and 
enjoy that empire which every man gives 
himself. Certainly the iterated injunctions of 
Christ unto humility, meekness, patience, and 
that despised train of virtues, cannot but make 
pathetical impressions upon those who have 
well considered the affairs of all ages, wherein 
pride, ambition, and vain-glory have led up 
the worst of actions, and whereunto confusion, 
tragedies, and acts denying all religion, do 
owe their originals. 

Rest not in an ovation ^ but a triumph over 
thy passions; chain up the unruly legion of 
thy breast ; behold thy trophies within thee, 
not without thee. Lead thine own captivity 
captive, and be Caesar unto thyself. 

Give no quarter unto those vices which are 
of thine inward family, and having a root in 
thy temper plead a right and propriety in 
thee. Examine well thy complexional in- 
clinations. Raise early batteries against those 
strongholds built upon the rock of nature, and 
make this a great part of the militia of 
thy life. The politic nature of vice must 
be opposed by policy; and therefore wiser 
honesties project and plot against sin : where- 
in notwithstanding we are not to rest in 
1 Ovation, a petty and minor kind of triumph. 



t 



A LETTER TO A FRIEND 229 

generals, or the trite stratagems of art. That 
may succeed with one temper which may 
prove successless with another: there is no 
community or commonwealth of virtue : every 
man must study his own economy, and erect 
these rules unto the figure of himself. 

Lastly, if length of days be thy portion, 
make it not thy expectation. Reckon not upon 
long life, but live always beyond thy account. 
He that so often surviveth his expectation, 
lives many lives, and will hardly complain of 
the shortness of his days. Time past is gone 
like a shadow ; make times to come present. 
Conceive that near which may be far off; 
approximate thy last times by present ap- 
prehensions of them : live like a neighbour 
unto death, and think there is but little to 
come. And since there is something in us 
that must still live on, join both lives to- 
gether; unite them in thy thoughts and 
actions, and live in one but for the other. He 
who thus ordereth the purposes of this life, 
will never be far from the next; and is in 
some manner already in it, by an happy con- 
formity, and close apprehension of it. 



2.^1 



ON DREAMS 



ON DREAMS 



[ms. sloane, 174, fol. 112, 120.] 



Half our days we pass in the shadow of the 
earth ; and the brother of death exacteth a 
third part of our lives. A good part of 
our sleep is peered out with visions and 
fantastical objects, wherein we are confessedly 
deceived. The day supplieth us with truths ; 
the night with fictions and falsehoods, which 
uncomfortably divide the natural account of 
our beings. And, therefore, having passed 
the day in sober labours and rational enquiries 
of truth, we are fain to betake ourselves unto 
such a state of being, wherein the soberest 
heads have acted all the monstrosities of 
melancholy, and which unto open eyes are no 
better than folly and madness. 

Happy are they that go to bed with grand 
music, like Pythagoras, or have ways to com- 
pose the fantastical spirit, whose unruly 
wanderings take oif inward sleep, filling our 
heads with St. Anthony's visions, and the 
dreams of Lipara in the sober chambers of 
rest. 

Virtuous thoughts of the day lay up good 
treasures for the night ; whereby the impres- 
sions of imaginary forms arise into sober 



234 ON DREAMS 

similitudes, acceptable unto our slumbering 
selves and preparatory unto divine impressions. 
Hereby Solomon's sleep was happy. Thus 
prepared, Jacob might well dream of angels 
upon a pillow of stone. And the best sleep 
of Adam might be the best of any after. 

That there should be divine dreams seems 
unreasonably doubted by Aristotle. That 
there are demoniacal dreams we have little 
reason to doubt. Why may there not be 
angelical ? If there be guardian spirits, they 
may not be inactively about us in sleep ; but 
may sometimes order our dreams : and many 
strange hints, instigations, or discourses, which 
are so amazing unto us, may arise from such 
foundations. 

But the phantasms of sleep do commonly 
walk in the great road of natural and animal 
dreams, wherein the thoughts or actions of 
the day are acted over and echoed in the 
night. Who can therefore wonder that 
Chrysostom should dream of St. Paul, who 
daily read his epistles ; or that Cardan, whose 
head was so taken up about the stars, should 
dream that his soul was in the moon ! Pious 
persons, whose thoughts are daily busied 
about heaven, and the blessed state thereof, 
can hardly escape the nightly phantasms of it, 
which though sometimes taken for illumina- 
tions, or divine dreams, yet rightly perpended 
may prove but animal visions, and natural 
night-scenes of their awaking contemplations. 

Many dreams are made out by sagacious 
exposition, and from the signature of their 
subjects; carrying their interpretation in 



ON DREAMS 235 

their fundamental sense and mystery of 
similitude, whereby, he that understands 
upon what natural fundamental every notion 
dependeth, may, by symbolical adaptation, 
hold a ready way to read the characters of 
Morpheus. In dreams of such a nature, 
Artemidorus, Achmet, and Astrampsychus, 
from Greek, Egyptian, and Arabian oneiro- 
criticism, may hint some interpretation : who, 
while we read of a ladder in Jacob's dream, 
will tell us that ladders and scalary ascents 
signify preferment ; and while we consider 
the dream of Pharaoh, do teach us that rivers 
overflowing speak plenty, lean oxen, famine 
and scarity ; and therefore it was but reason- 
able in Pharaoh to demand the interpretation 
from his magicians, who, being ^Egyptians, 
should have been well versed in symbols 
and the hieroglyphical notions of things. 
The greatest tyrant in such divinations was 
Nabuchodonosor, while, besides the interpre- 
tation, he demanded the dream itself; which 
being probably determined by divine immission, 
might escape the common road of phantasms, 
that might have been traced by Satan. 

When Alexander, going to besiege Tyre, 
dreamt of a Satyr, it was no hard exposition 
for a Grecian to say, 'Tyre will be thine.' 
He that dreamed that he saw his father 
washed by Jupiter and anointed by the sun, 
had cause to fear that he might be crucified, 
whereby his body would be washed by the 
rain, and drop by the heat of the sun. The 
dream of Vespasian was of harder exposition ; 
as also that of the emperor Mauritius, con- 



236 ON DREAMS 

cerning his successor Phocas. And a man 
might have been hard put to it, to Interpret 
the language of ^sculapius, when to a con- 
sumptive person he held forth his fingers ; 
implying thereby that his cure lay in dates, 
from the homonymy of the Greek, which 
signifies dates and fingers. 

We owe unto dreams that Galen was a phy- 
sician, Dion an historian, and that the world 
hath seen some notable pieces of Cardan ; yet, 
he that should order his affairs by dreams, or 
make the night a rule unto the day, might be 
ridiculously deluded ; wherein Cicero is much 
to be pitied, who having excellently discoursed 
of the vanity of dreams, was yet undone by 
the flattery of his own, which urged him to 
apply himself unto Augustus. 

However dreams may be fallacious con- 
cerning outward events, yet may they be 
truly significant at home ; and whereby we 
may more sensibly understand ourselves. Men 
act in sleep with some conformity unto their 
awaked senses; and consolations or dis- 
couragements may be drawn from dreams 
which intimately tell us ourselves. Luther 
was not like to fear a spirit in the night, 
when such an apparition would not terrify 
him in the day. Alexander would hardly 
have run away in the sharpest combats of 
sleep, nor Demosthenes have stood stoutly to 
it, who was scarce able to do it in his prepared 
senses. Persons of radical integrity will not 
easily be perverted in their dreams, nor noble 
minds do pitiful things in sleep. Crassus 
would have hardly been bountiful in a dream, 



ON DREAMS 237 

whose fist was so close awake. But a man 
might have lived all his life upon the sleeping 
hand of Antonius. 

There is an art to make dreams, as well as 
their interpretation; and physicians will tell 
us that some food makes turbulent, some 
gives quiet, dreams. Cato^ who doated upon 
cabbage, might find the crude effects thereof 
in his sleep ; wherein the ^Egyptians might 
find some advantage by their superstitious 
abstinence from onions. Pythagoras might 
have calmer sleeps, if he totally abstained 
from beans. Even Daniel, the great inter- 
preter of dreams, in his leguminous diet, seems 
to have chosen no advantageous food for quiet 
sleeps, according to Grecian physick. 

To add unto the delusion of dreams, the 
fantastical objects seem greater than they 
are ; and being beheld in the vaporous state 
of sleep, enlarge their diameters unto us; 
whereby it may prove more easy to dream 
of giants than pigmies. Democritus might 
seldom dream of atoms, who so often thought 
of them. He almost might dream himself a 
bubble extending unto the eighth sphere. A 
little water makes a sea ; a small puff of wind 
a tempest. A grain of sulphur kindled in the 
blood may make a flame like ^Etna; and a 
small spark in the bowels of Olympus a 
lightning over all the chamber. 

But, beside these innocent delusions, there 
is a sinful state of dreams. Death alone, not 
sleep, is able to put an end unto sin ; and 
there may be a night-book of our iniquities ; 
for besides the trangressions of the day, 



238 ON DREAMS 

casuists will tell us of mortal sins in dreams, 
arising from evil precogitations ; meanwhile 
human law regards not noctambulous ; and if 
a night-walker should break his neck, or kill 
a man, takes no notice of it. 

Dionysius was absurdly tyrannical to kill a 
man for dreaming that he had killed him ; 
and really to take away his life, who had but 
fantastically taken away his. Lamia was 
ridiculously unjust to sue a young man for a 
reward, who had confessed that pleasure from 
her in a dream which she had denied unto 
his awaking senses : conceiving that she had 
merited somewhat from his fantastical fruition 
and shadow of herself. If there be such 
debts, we owe deeply unto sympathies; but 
the common spirit of the world must be ready 
in such arrearages. 

If some have swooned, they may have also 
died in dreams, since death is but a confirmed 
swooning. Whether Plato died in a dream, 
as some deliver, he must rise again to inform 
us. That some have never dreamed, is as 
improbable as that some have never laughed. 
That children dream not the first half-year; 
that men dream not in some countries, with 
many more, are unto me sick men's dreams ; 
dreams out of the ivory gate, and visions 
before midnight. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 

URN burial; or a discourse on 

THE SEPULCHRAL URNS LATELY 
FOUND IN NORFOLK 



THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY 

TO MY WORTHY AND HONOURED FRIEND, 

THOMAS LE GROS, of CROSTWICK, 
ESQUIRE. 

When the funeral pyre was out, and the last 
valediction over, men took a lasting adieu of 
their interred friends, little expecting the 
curiosity of future ages should comment upon 
their ashes ; and, having no old experience of 
the duration of their reliques, held no opinion 
of such after-considerations. 

But who knows the fate of his bones, or 
how often he is to be buried } Who hath the 
oracle of his ashes, or whither they are to be 
scattered ? The reliques of many lie like the 
ruins of Pompey's/ in all parts of the earth ; 
and when they arrive at your hands these may 
seem to have wandered far, who, in a direct 
and meridian travel,^ have but few miles of 
known earth between yourself and the pole. 

That the bones of Theseus should be seen 
again in Athens ^ was not beyond conjecture 
and hopeful expectation : but that these 
should arise so opportunely to serve yourself 

1 Pompeios juvenes Asia atque Europa, sed ipsum terrd 
tegit Lihyos. 

2 Little directly but sea, between your house and 
Greenland. 

* Brought back by Cimon.— Plutarch. 

a 



242 THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY 

was an hit of fate, and honour beyond pre- 
diction. 

We cannot but wish these urns might have 
the effect of theatrical vessels and great 
Hippodrome urns^ in Rome, to resound the 
acclamations and honour due unto you. But 
these are sad and sepulchral pitchers, which 
have no joyful voices ; silently expressing old 
mortality, the ruins of forgotten times, and 
can only speak with life, how long in this 
corruptible frame some parts may be uncor- 
rupted ; yet able to outlast bones long unborn, 
and the noblest pile among us.^ 

We present not these as any strange sight 
or spectacle unknown to your eyes, who have 
beheld the best of urns and noblest variety of 
ashes ; who are yourself no slender master of 
antiquities, and can daily command the view 
of so many imperial faces ; which raiseth your 
thoughts unto old things and consideration of 
times before you, when even living men were 
antiquities ; when the living might exceed 
the dead, and to depart this world could not 
be properly said to go unto the greater 
number ; ^ and so runs up your thoughts upon 
the Ancient of Days, the antiquary's truest 
object, unto whom the eldest parcels are 
young, and earth itself an infant, and without 
^Egyptian ^ account makes but small noise in 
thousands. 

1 The great urns in the Hippodrome at Rome, conceived 
to resound the voices of people at their shows. 

2 Worthily possessed by that true gentleman, Sir 
Horatio Townshend, my honoured friend. 

3 Ahiit adplures. 

* Which makes the world so many years old. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 243 

We were hinted by the occasion, not catched 
the opportunity to write of old things, or 
intrude upon the antiquary. We are coldly 
drawn unto discourses of antiquities, who 
have scarce time before us to comprehend 
new things, or make out learned novelties. 
But seeing they arose, as they lay, almost in 
silence among us, at least in short account 
suddenly passed over, we were very unwilling 
they should die again, and be buried twice 
among us. 

Beside, to preserve the living, and make the 
dead to live, to keep men out of their urns, 
and discourse of human fragments in them, is 
not impertinent unto our profession; whose 
study is life and death, who daily behold 
examples of mortality, and of all men least 
need artificial mementoes, or coffins by our 
bedside, to mind us of our graves. 

'Tis time to observe occurrences, and let 
nothing remarkable escape us : the supinity 
of elder days hath left so much in silence, or 
time hath so martyred the records, that the 
most industrious heads ^ do find no easy work 
to erect a new Britannia. 

'Tis opportune to look back upon old times, 
and contemplate our forefathers. Great ex- 
amples grow thin, and are to be fetched from 
the passed world. Simplicity flies away, and 
iniquity comes at long strides upon us. We 
have enough to do to make up ourselves from 
present and passed times, and the whole stage 

1 Wherein Mr. Dugdale hath excellently well endea- 
voured, and is worthy to be countenanced by ingenuous 
and noble persons. 



244 THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY 

of things scarce serveth for our instruction. 
A complete piece of virtue must be made up 
from the centos of all ages, as all the beauties 
of Greece could make but one handsome 
Venus. 

When the bones of King Arthur were 
digged up,i the old race might think they 
beheld therein some originals of themselves ; 
unto these of our urns none here can pretend 
relation, and can only behold the reliques of 
those persons who, in their life giving the 
laws unto their predecessors, after long 
obscurity, now lie at their mercies. But, re- 
membering the early civility they brought 
upon these countries, and forgetting long- 
passed mischiefs, we mercifully preserve their 
bones, and piss not upon their ashes. 

In the offer of these antiquities we drive 
not at ancient families, so long outlasted by 
them. We are far from erecting your worth 
upon the pillars of your forefathers, whose 
merits you illustrate. We honour your old 
virtues, conformable unto times before you, 
which are the noblest armoury. And, having 
long experience of your friendly conversation, 
void of empty formality, full of freedom, con- 
stant and generous honesty, I look upon you 
as a gem of the old rock,^ and must profess 
myself, even to urn and ashes. 

Your ever faithful Friend and Servant, 
THOMAS BROWNE. 
Norwich, May Ist. 

1 In the time of Henry the Second. — Camden. 

2 Adamas de rupe veteri prcestantissimus. 



I 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 



CHAPTER I 

In the deep discovery of the subterranean 
world, a shallow part would satisfy some 
enquirers ; wlio, if two or three yards were 
open about the surface, would not care to 
rack the bowels of Potosi,i and regions 
towards the centre. Nature hath furnished 
one part of the earth, and man another. The 
treasures of time lie high, in urns, coins, and 
monuments, scarce below the roots of some 
vegetables. Time hath endless rarities, and 
shows of all varieties; which reveals old 
things in heaven, makes new discoveries in 
earth, and even earth itself a discovery. 
That great antiquity America lay buried for 
thousands of years, and a large part of the 
earth is still in the urn unto us. 

Though if Adam were made out of an ex- 
tract of the earth, all parts might challenge a 
restitution, yet few have returned their bones 
far lower than they might receive them ; not 
affecting the graves of giants, under hilly and 
heavy coverings, but, content with less than 
their own depth, have wished their bones 
might lie soft, and the earth be light upon 

1 The rich mountain of Peru. 



246 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

them. Even such as hope to rise again would 
not be content with central interment, or so 
desperately to place their reliques as to lie 
beyond discovery ; and in no way to be seen 
again; which happy contrivance hath made 
communication with our forefathers, and left 
unto our view some parts which they never 
beheld themselves. 

Though earth hath engrossed the name, yet 
water hath proved the smartest grave ; which 
in forty days swallowed almost mankind, and 
the living ereation ; fishes not wholly escaping, 
except the salt ocean were handsomely con- 
tempered by a mixture of the fresh element. 

Many have taken voluminous pains to 
determine the state of the soul upon disunion; 
but men have been most fantastical in the 
singular contrivances of their corporal dis- 
solution : whilst the soberest nations have 
rested in two ways, of simple inhumation, and 
burning. 

That carnal interment or burying was of the 
elder date, the old examples of Abraham and 
the patriarchs are sufficient to illustrate ; and 
were without competition, if it could be made 
out that Adam was buried near Damascus, 
or Mount Calvary, according to some tradition. 
God himself, that buried but one, was pleased 
to make choice of this way, as is collectible 
from Scripture expression, and the hot contest 
between Satan and the archangel about dis- 
covering the body of Moses. But the practice 
of burning was also of great antiquity, and of 
no slender extent. For (not to derive the 
same from Hercules) noble descriptions there 



I 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 247 

are hereof in the Grecian funerals of Homer, 
in the formal obsequies of Patroclus and 
Achilles ; and somewhat elder in the Theban 
war, and solemn combustion of Menoeceus, and 
Archemorus, contemporary unto Jair the 
eighth judge of Israel. Confirmable also 
among the Trojans, from the funeral pyre of 
Hector, burnt before the gates of Troy : and 
the burning of Penthesilea the Amazonian 
queen : and long continuance of that practice q. Calabkr. 
in the inward countries of Asia ; while, as low ^^^' '• 
as the reign of Julian, we find that the king 
of Chionia^ burnt the body of his son, and 
interred the ashes in a silver urn. 

The same practice extended also far west ; ^ 
and, besides Herulians, Getes, and Thracians, 
was in use with most of the Celtae, Sarmatians, 
Germans, Gauls, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians ; 
not to omit some use thereof among Cartha- 
ginians and Americans. Of greater antiquity 
among the Romans than most opinion, or 
Pliny seems to allow : for (beside the old table 
laws of burning or burying within the city,^ of 
making the funeral fire with planed wood, or 
quenching the fire with wine), Manlius the 
consul burnt the body of his son: Numa, by 
special clause of his will, was not burnt but 



1 Gumbrates, king of Chionia, a country near Persia. 
— Amraianus Marcellinus. 

2 Arnold. Montan. not. in Cces. Commentar. L. 
Gyraldus. Kirckmannus. 

3 12 Tabul. part i. De Jure Sacra. Hominem mortuvm, 
in urhe ne sepelito, neve urito, torn. 2. Rogum ascid ne 
polito, torn. 4. Item Vigeneri Annotat. in Livium, et 
Alex, ah Alex, cum Tiraquello. Roscinus cum Demp- 
stero. 



248 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

buried; and Remus was solemnly burned, 
according to the description of Ovid.^ 

Cornelius Sylla was not the first whose body 
was burned in Rome, but of the Cornelian 
family, which, being indifferently, not fre- 
quently, used before, from that time spread, 
and became the prevalent practice; not totally 
pursued in the highest run of cremation ; for 
when even crows were funerally burnt, Poppaea 
the wife of Nero found a peculiar grave in- 
terment. 

Now, as all customs were founded upon 
some bottom of reason, so there wanted not 
grounds for this ; according to several appre- 
hensions of the most rational dissolution. 
Some being of the opinion of Thales, that 
water was the original of all things, thought 
it most equal to submit unto the principle of 
putrefaction, and conclude in a moist relent- 
ment. Others conceived it most natural to 
end in fire, as due unto the master principle 
in the composition, according to the doctrine 
of Heraclitus ; and therefore heaped up large 
piles, more actively to waft them toward that 
element, whereby they also declined a visible 
degeneration into worms, and left a lasting 
parcel of their composition. 

Some apprehended a purifying virtue in fire, 
refining the grosser commixture, and firing 
out the aethereal particles so deeply immersed 
in it. And such as by tradition or rational 
conjecture held any hint of the final pyre of 
all things, or that this element at last must be 

1 Ultimo prolata subdita flamma rogo. De Fast. lib. iv. 
cum, Gar. Ncapol. Anaptyxi. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 249 

too hard for all the rest, might conceive most 
naturally of the fiery dissolution. Others, 
pretending no natural grounds, politickly 
declined the malice of enemies upon their 
buried bodies. Which consideration led Sylla 
unto this practice ; who, having thus served the 
body of Marius, could not but fear a retaliation 
upon his own; entertained after in the civil 
wars, and revengeful contentions of Rome. 

But as many nations embraced, and many 
left it indifferent, so others, too much affected, 
or strictly declined this practice. The Indian 
Brachmans seemed too great friends unto fire, 
who burnt themselves alive, and thought it the 
noblest way to end their days in fire ; accord- 
ing to the expression of the Indian burning 
himself at Athens,^ in his last words upon the 
pyre unto the amazed spectators, Thus I make 
myself immortal. 

But the Chaldeans, the great idolaters of 
fire, abhorred the burning of their carcases, as 
a pollution of that deity. The Persian magi 
declined it upon the like scruple, and being 
only solicitous about their bones, exposed 
their flesh to the prey of birds and dogs. And 
the Persees now in India, which expose their 
bodies unto vultures, and endure not so much 
as ferctra or biers of wood, the proper fuel 
of fire, are led on with such niceties. But 
whether the ancient Germans, who burned 
their dead, held any such fear to pollute their 
deity of Herthus, or the earth, we have no 
authentick conjecture. 

1 And therefore the inscription of his tomb was made 
accordingly. — Nic. Damasc. 



250 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 



DiODORUS 
SiCULUS. 



Ramusius 
in Navigat. 



The Egyptians were afraid of fire, not as 
a deity, but a devouring element, mercilessly 
consuming their bodies, and leaving too little 
of them ; and therefore by precious embal- 
ments, depositure in dry earths, or handsome 
inclosure in glasses, contrived the notablest 
ways of integral conservation. And from such 
Egyptian scruples, imbibed by Pythagoras, it 
may be conjectured that Numa and the Pytha- 
gorical sect first waved the fiery solution. 

The Scythians, who swore by wind and 
sword, that is, by life and death, were so far 
from burning their bodies, that they declined 
all interment, and made their graves in the 
air: and the Ichthyophagi, or fish-eating 
nations about ^Egypt, affected the sea for their 
grave ; thereby declining visible corruption, 
and restoring the debt of their bodies. 
Whereas the old heroes, in Homer, dreaded 
nothing more than water or drowning; 
probably upon the old opinion of the fiery 
substance of the soul, only extinguishable by 
that element; and therefore the poet em- 
phatically implieth the total destruction in 
this kind of death, which happened to Ajax 
Oileus.i 

The old Balearians had a peculiar mode, 
for they used great urns and much wood, but 
no fire in their burials, while they bruised the 
flesh and bones of the dead, crowded them 
into urns, and laid heaps of wood upon them. 
And the Chinois without cremation or urnal 
interment of their bodies, make use of trees 
and much burning, while they plant a pine- 
1 Which Magius reads e|a7r6\wXe. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 251 

tree by their grave, and burn great numbers 
of printed draughts of slaves and horses over 
it, civilly content with their companies in 
effigy, which barbarous nations exact unto 
reality. 

Christians abhorred this way of obsequies, 
and though they sticked not to give their 
bodies to be burnt in their lives, detested that 
mode after death ; affecting rather a depositure 
than absumption, and properly submitting unto 
the sentence of God, to return, not unto ashes, 
but unto dust again, conformable unto the 
practice of the patriarchs, the interment of 
our Saviour, of Peter, Paul, and the ancient 
martyrs. And so far at last declining pro- 
miscuous interment with Pagans, that some 
have suffered ecclesiastical censures, for mak- Marti^ils 
ing no scruple thereof. c^pS."^ 

The Musselman believers will never admit 
this fiery resolution. For they hold a present 
trial from their black and white angels in the 
grave ; which they must have made so hollow, 
that they may rise upon their knees. 

The Jewish nation, though they entertained 
the old way of inhumation, yet sometimes 
admitted this practice (for the men of Jabesh 
burnt the body of Saul) ; and by no prohibited 
practice, to avoid contagion or pollution, in 
time of pestilence, burnt the bodies of their 
friends. And when they burnt not their dead Amos vi. lo. 
bodies, yet sometimes used great burnings 
near ancl about them, as is deducible from the 
expressions concerning Jehoram, Zedechias, 
and the sumptuous pyre of Asa. And they were 
so little averse from Pagan burning, that the 



262 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

SoETON. in Jews lamenting the death of Caesar their 
cij"^"^ friend, and revenger on Pompey, frequented 
the place where his body was burnt for many 
nights together. And as they raised noble 
monuments and mausoleums for their own 
nation/ so they were not scrupulous in erect- 
ing some for others, according to the practice 
of Daniel, who left that lasting sepulchral pile 
in Ecbatana, for the Median and Persian 
kings. 2 

But even in times of subjection and hottest 
use, they conformed not unto the Roman 
practice of burning ; whereby the prophecy 
was secured concerning the body of Christ, 
that it should not see corruption, or a hone 
should not be broken (which we believe was also 
providentially prevented, from the soldier's 
spear and nails that passed by the little bones 
both in his hands and feet; not of ordinary 
contrivance, that it should not corrupt on the 
cross, according to the law of Roman cruci- 
fixion) ; or an hair of his head perish, though 
observable in Jewish customs, to cut the hair 
of malefactors. 

Nor in the long cohabitation with the 
Egyptians, crept they into a custom of their 
exact embalming, wherein deeply slashing the 
muscles, and taking out the brains and entrails, 
they had broken the subject of so entire a 
resurrection, nor fully answered the types of 
Enoch, Elijah, or Jonah, which yet to prevent 

1 As that magnificent sepulchral monument erected by 
Simon, 1 Mace. xiii. 27, etc. 

2 KaTacrKe{ra<7/ji.a davfiao-iios ireiroLrjixhov, whereof a 
Jewish priest had always the custody, unto Josephus 
his days.— Jos. Antiq. lib. x. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 253 

or restore, was of equal facility unto that 
rising power, able to break the fasciations and 
bands of death, to get clear out of the cere- 
cloth, and an hundred pounds of ointment, 
and out of the sepulchre before the stone was 
rolled from it. 

But though they embraced not this practice 
of burning, yet entertained they many cere- 
monies agreeable unto Greek and Roman 
obsequies. And he that observeth their 
funeral feasts, their lamentations at the grave, 
their music and weeping mourners ; how they 
closed the eyes of their friends, how they 
washed, anointed, and kissed the dead ; may 
easily conclude these were not mere Pagan 
civilities. But whether that mournful burthen, 
and treble calling out after Absalom, had any 2 Sam. 
reference unto the last conclamation, and ''^"- 33- 
triple valediction, used by other nations, we 
hold but a wavering conjecture. 

Civilians make sepulture but of the law of 
nations, others do naturally found it and dis- 
cover it also in animals. They that are so 
thick-skinned as still to credit the story of 
the Phoenix, may say something for animal 
burning. More serious conjectures find 
some examples of sepulture in elephants, 
cranes, the sepulchral cells of pismires, and 
practice of bees, — which civil society carrieth 
out their dead, and hath exequies, if not 
interments. 



264 HYDRIOTAPHIA 



CHAPTER II 

The solemnities, ceremonies, rites of their 
cremation or interment, so solemnly delivered 
by authors, we shall not disparage our reader 
to repeat. Only the last and lasting part in 
their urns, collected bones and ashes^ we can- 
not wholly Omit or decline, that subject, which 
occasion lately presented, in some discovered 
among us. 

In a field of Old Walsingham, not many 
months past, were digged up between forty 
and fifty urns, deposited in a dry and sandy 
soil, not a yard deep, nor far from one another. 
— Not all strictly of one figure, but most 
answering these described: some containing 
two pounds of bones, distinguishable in skulls, 
ribs, jaws, thigh-bones, and teeth, with fresh 
impressions of their combustion ; besides the 
extraneous substances, like pieces of small 
boxes, combs handsomely wrought, handles of 
small brass instruments, brazen nippers, and 
in one some kind of opal.^ 

Near the same plot of ground, for about 
six yards compass, were digged up coals and 
incinerated substances, which begat con- 
jecture that this was the mtrina or place of 
burning their bodies, or some sacrificing place 

1 In one sent me by my worthy friend, Dr. Thomas 
"Witherly of AValsingham. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 255 

unto the manes, which was properly below the 
surface of the ground, as the arce and altars 
unto the gods and heroes above it. 

That these were the urns of Romans, from 
the common custom and place where they 
were found, is no obscure conjecture, not far 
from a Roman garrison, and but five miles 
from Brancaster, set down by ancient record 
under the name of Branodunum. And where 
the adjoining town, containing seven parishes, 
in no very different sound, but Saxon termina- 
tion, still retains the name of Burnham, which 
being an early station, it is not improbable 
the neighbour parts were filled with habita- 
tions, either of Romans themselves, or Britons 
Romanized, which observed the Roman 
customs. 

Nor is it improbable, that the Romans early 
possessed this country. For though we meet 
not with such strict particulars of these parts 
before the new institution of Constantine, and 
military charge of the Count of the Saxon 
shore, and that about the Saxon invasions the 
Dalmatian horsemen were in the garrison 
of Brancaster; yet in the time of Claudius, 
Vespasian, and Severus, we find no less than 
three legions dispersed through the province 
of Britain. And as high as the reign of 
Claudius a great overthrow was given unto 
the Iceni, by the Roman lieutenant Ostorius. 
Not long after, the country was so molested, 
that, in hope of a better state, Prasutagus 
bequeathed his kingdom unto Nero and his 
daughters; and Boadicea, his queen, fought 
the last decisive battle with Paulinus. After 



256 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

which time, and the conquest of Agricola, the 
Heutenant of Vespasian ; probable it is, they 
wholly possessed this country ; ordering it 
into garrisons or habitations best suitable 
with their securities. And so some Roman 
habitations not improbable in these parts, as 
high as the time of Vespasian, where the 
Saxons after seated, in whose thin-filled maps 
we yet find the name of Walsingham. Now 
if the Iceni were but Gammadims, Anconians, 
or men that lived in an angle, wedge, or elbow 
of Britain, according to the original etymology, 
this country will challenge the emphatical 
appellation, as most properly making the 
elbow or iken of Icenia. 

That Britain was notably populous is un- 
deniable, from that expression of Caesar.^ 
That the Romans themselves were early in 
no small numbers, seventy thousand, with 
their associates, slain by Boadicea, affords a 
sure account. And though many Roman 
habitations are now unknown, yet some, by 
old works, rampiers, coins, and urns, do 
testify their possessions. Some urns have 
been found at Castor, some also about South- 
creak, and, not many years past, no less than 
ten in a field at Buxton,^ not near any recorded 
garrison. Nor is it strange to find Roman 
coins of copper and silver among us; of 
Vespasian, Trajan, Adrian, Commodus, Anto- 

1 Hominum infinita muUitvdo est, creherrimaque ; 
cedificia fere Gcdlicis consimilia. — Caes. de Bello Gal. 
lib. V. 

2 In the ground of my worthy friend Robert Jegon, 
Esq. ; wherein some things contained were preserved by 
the most worthy Sir William Paaton, Bart. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 257 

ninus, Severus^ etc. ; but the greatest number 
of Dioclesian, Constantine, Constans, Valens, 
with many of Victorinus Posthumius, Tetricus, 
and the thirty tyrants in the reign of GalHenus ; 
and some as high as Adrianus have been found 
about Thetford, or Sitomagus^ mentioned in 
the Itinerary of Antoninus, as the way from 
Venta or Castor unto London. i But the 
most frequent discovery is made at the two 
Castors by Norwich and Yarmouth/ at Burgh- 
castle, and Brancaster.^ 

Besides the Norman, Saxon, and Danish 
pieces of Cuthred, Canutus, William, Matilda,* 
and others, some British coins of gold have 
been dispersedly found, and no small number 
of silver pieces near Norwich,^ with a rude 
head upon the obverse, and an ill-formed 
horse on the reverse, with inscriptions Ic. 
Duro. T. ; whether implying Iceni, Durotriges, 
Tascia, or Trinobantes, we leave to higher con- 
jecture. Vulgar chronology will have Norwich 
Castle as old as Julius Caesar, but his distance 
from these parts, and its gothick form of struc- 

1 From Castor to Thetford the Romans accounted thirty- 
two miles, and from thence observed not our common road 
to London, but passed by Coinhretonium ad Ansam, 
Canonium, Ccesaromagus, etc., by Bretenham, Cogges- 
hall, Chelmsford, Brentwood, etc. 

2 Most at Castor by Yarmouth, found in a place called 
East-bloudy-burgh Furlong, belonging to Mr. Thomas 
Wood, a person of civility, industry, and knowledge in 
this way, who hath made observation of remarkable things 
about him, and from whom we have received divers silver 
and copper coins. 

3 Belonging to that noble gentleman, and true example 
of worth. Sir Ralph Hare, Bart., my honoured friend. 

■* A piece of Maud, the empress, said to be found in 
Buckenham Castle, with this inscription, — Elle n'a die. 
5 At Thorpe. 

R 



258 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 



Bravipton 
Abbas 
Journal- 
lensis. 



ture, abridgeth such antiquity. The British 
coins afford conjecture of early habitation in 
these parts, though the city of Norwich arose 
from the ruins of Venta ; and though, per- 
haps, not without some habitation before, was 
enlarged, builded, and nominated by the 
Saxons. In what bulk or populosity it stood 
in the old East- Angle monarchy, tradition and 
history are silent. Considerable it was in the 
Danish eruptions, when Sueno burnt Thetford 
and Norwich, and Ulfketel, the governor 
thereof, was able to make some resistance, 
and after endeavoured to burn the Danish 
navy. 

How the Romans left so many coins in 
countries of their conquests seems of hard 
resolution ; except we consider how they 
buried them under ground when, upon bar- 
barous invasions, they were fain to desert 
their habitations in most part of their empire, 
and the strictness of their laws forbidding to 
PLUT^/«»rVa transfer them to any other uses : wherein the 
Spartans were singular, who, to make their 
copper money useless, contempered it with 
vinegar. That the Britons left any, some 
wonder, since their money was iron and iron 
rings before Csesar ; and those of after-stamp 
by permission, and but small in bulk and 
bigness. That so few of the Saxons remain, 
because, overcome by succeeding conquerors 
upon the place, their coins, by degrees, passed 
into other stamps and the marks of after- 
ages. 

Than the time of these urns deposited, or 
precise antiquity of these reliques, nothing of 



Lycurg. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 269 

more uncertainty ; for since the lieutenant of 
Claudius seems to have made the first progress 
into these parts, since Boadicea was over- 
thrown by the forces of Nero, and Agricola 
put a full end to these conquests, it is not 
probable the country was fully garrisoned or 
planted before ; and, therefore, however, these 
urns might be of later date, not likely of 
higher antiquity. 

And the succeeding emperors desisted not 
from their conquests in these and other parts, 
as testified by history and medal-inscription 
yet extant: the province of Britain, in so 
divided a distance from Rome, beholding the 
faces of many imperial persons, and in large 
account; no fewer than Caesar, Claudius, 
Britannicus, Vespasian, Titus, Adrian, Severus, 
Commodus, Geta, and Caracalla. 

A great obscurity herein, because no medal 
or emperor's coin enclosed, which might de- 
note the date of their interments ; observable 
in many urns, and found in those of Spital- 
fields, by London, which contained the coins Stowe's 
of Claudius, Vespasian, Commodus, Antoninus, ^Londonf 
attended with lacrymatories, lamps, bottles of 
liquor, and other appurtenances of affectionate 
superstition, which in these rural interments 
were wanting. 

Some uncertainty there is from the period 
or term of burning, or the cessation of that 
practice. Macrobius affirmeth it was disused 
in his days ; but most agree, though without 
authentick record, that it ceased with the 
Antonini, — most safely to be understood after 
the reign of those emperors which assumed 



Al'OLLIN 
ARIS< 



260 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

the name of Antoninus, extending unto Helio- 
gabalus. Not strictly after Marcus ; for about 
fifty years later, we find the magnificent 
burning and consecration of Severus ; and, if 
we so fix this period or cessation, these urns 
will challenge above thirteen hundred years. 

But whether this practice was only then 
left by emperors and great persons, or gener- 
ally about Rome, and not in other provinces, 
we hold no authentick account ; for after 
Tertullian, in the days of Minucius, it was 
obviously objected upon Christians, that they 
condemned the practice of burning. ^ And 

SiDON. we find a passage in Sidonius, which asserteth 

that practice in France unto a lower account. 
And, perhaps, not fully disused till Christianity 
fully established, which gave the final ex- 
tinction to these sepulchral bonfires. 

Whether they were the bones of men, or 
women, or children, no authentick decision 
from ancient custom in distinct places of 
burial. Although not improbably conjectured 
that the double sepulture, or burying-place of 

Gen. xxiii. 4. Abraham, had in it such intention. But from 
exility of bones, thinness of skulls, smallness 
of teeth, ribs, and thigh-bones, 'tis not im- 
probable that many thereof were persons of 
minor age, or women. Confirmable also from 
things contained in them. In most were 
found substances resembling combs, plates 
like boxes, fastened with iron pins, and hand- 
somely overwrought like the necks or bridges 
of musical instruments; long brass plates over- 

1 Execrantur rogos, et damnant ignivmi sepultu/ram. — 
Min. in Oct. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 261 

wrought like the handles of neat implements; 
brazen nippers, to pull away hair ; and in one 
a kind of opal, yet maintaining a bluish colour. 
Now that they accustomed to burn or bury 
with them, things wherein they excelled, 
delighted, or which were dear unto them, 
either as farewells unto all pleasure, or vain 
apprehension that they might use them in 
the other world, is testified by all antiquity, 
observable from the gem or beryl ring upon 
the finger of Cynthia, the mistress of Proper- 
tius, when after her funeral pyre her ghost 
appeared unto him ; and notably illustrated 
from the contents of that Roman urn preserved 
by Cardinal Farnese, wherein, besides great Vigeneri 
number of gems with heads of gods and ^2%.'"* 
goddesses, were found an ape of agath, a 
grasshopper, an elephant of amber, a crystal 
ball, three glasses, two spoons, and six nuts 
of crystal; and beyond the content of urns, 
in the monument of Childerick the first, and Chifflet. 
fourth king from Pharamond, casually dis- ^chiider. ' 
covered three years past at Tournay, restoring 
unto the world much gold richly adorning his 
sword, two hundred rubies, many hundred 
imperial coins, three himdred golden bees, 
the bones and horse-shoes of his horse in- 
terred with him, according to the barbarous 
magnificence of those days in their sepulchral 
obsequies. Although, if we steer by the con- 
jecture of many and septuagint expression, 
some trace thereof may be found even with 
the ancient Hebrews, not only from the 
sepulchral treasure of David, but the circum- 
cision knives which Joshua also buried. 



262 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

Some men, considering the contents of 
these urns, lasting pieces and toys included 
in them, and the custom of burning with 
many other nations, might somewhat doubt 
whether all urns found among us were 
properly Roman reliques, or some not belong- 
ing unto our British, Saxon, or Danish fore- 
fathers. 

In the form of burial among the ancient 
Britons, the large discourses of Caesar, Tacitus, 
and Strabo are silent. For the discovery 
whereof, with other particulars, we much 
deplore the loss of that letter which Cicero 
expected or received from his brother Quintus, 
as a resolution of British customs ; or the 
account which might have been made by 
Scribonius Largus, the physician, accompany- 
ing the Emperor Claudius, who might have 
also discovered that frugal bit of the old 
Britons,^ which in the bigness of a bean could 
satisfy their thirst and hunger. 

But that the Druids and ruling priests used 
to burn and bury, is expressed by Pomponius ; 
that Bellinus, the brother of Brennus, and 
king of the Britons, was burnt, is acknow- 
ledged by Polydorus, as also by Amandus 
Zierexensis in Historia, and Pineda in his 
Universa Historia (Spanish). That they held 
that practice in Gallia, Caesar expressly de- 
li vereth. Whether the Britons (probably 
descended from them, of like religion, lan- 
guage, and manners) did not sometimes make 
use of burning, or whether at least such as 
were after civilized unto the Roman life and 
1 Dionis excerpta per Xiphilin. in Severo. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 263 

manners, conformed not unto this practice, 
ve have no historical assertion or denial. 
But since, from the account of Tacitus, the 
Romans early wrought so much civility upon 
the British stock, that they brought them to 
build temples, to wear the gown, and study 
the Roman laws and language, that they con- 
formed also unto their religious rites and 
customs in burials, seems no improbable con- 
jecture. 

That burning the dead was used in Sarmatia 
is affirmed by Gaguinus; that the Sueons 
and Gothlanders used to burn their princes 
and great persons, is delivered by Saxo and 
Olaus ; that this was the old German practice, 
is also asserted by Tacitus. And though we 
are bare in historical particulars of such 
obsequies in this island, or that the Saxons, 
Jutes, and Angles burnt their dead, yet came 
they from parts where 'twas of ancient 
practice ; the Germans using it, from whom 
they were descended. And even in Jut- 
land and Sleswick in Anglia Cymbrica, urns 
with bones were found not many years before 
us. 

But the Danish and northern nations have 
raised an era or point of compute from their 
custom of burning their dead : some deriving Roisoid, 
it from Unguinus, some from Frotho the great, jlfty%^^'^'^ 
who ordained by law, that princes and chief 
commanders should be committed unto the 
fire, though the common sort had the common 
grave interment. So Starkatterus, that old 
hero, was burnt, and Ringo royally burnt the 
body of Harold, the king slain by him. 



264 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

What time this custom generally expired in 
that nation, we discern no assured period; 
whether it ceased before Christianity, or 
upon their conversion, by Ausgurius the Gaul, 
in the time of Ludovicus Pius the son of 
Charles the Great, according to good com- 
putes ; or whether it might not be used by 
some persons, while for an hundred and eighty 
years Paganism and Christianity were pro- 
miscuously embraced among them, there is 
no assured conclusion. About which times 
the Danes were busy in England, and 
particularly infested this county ; where many 
castles and strongholds were built by them, 
or against them, and great number of names 
and families still derived from them. But 
since this custom was probably disused before 
their invasion or conquest, and the Romans 
confessedly practised the same since their 
possession of this island, the most assured 
account will fall upon the Romans, or Britons 
Romanized. 

However, certain it is, that urns, conceived 
of no Roman original, are often digged up 
both in Norway and Denmark, handsomely 
described, and graphically represented by the 
learned physician Wormius.^ And in some 
parts of Denmark in no ordinary number, as 
stands delivered by authors exactly describing 
those countries. '^ And they contained not 
only bones, but many other substances in 
them, as knives, pieces of iron, brass, and 

1 Olai Wormii Monumenta et Antiquitat. — Dan. 

2 Adolphus Cyprius in Annal. Sleswick. urnis adeo 
cibvmdahat collis, etc. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 265 

wood, and one of Norway a brass gilded jew's- 
harp. 

Nor were they confused or careless in dis- 
posing the noblest sort, while they placed 
large stones in circle about the urns or bodies 
which they interred: somewhat answerable 
unto the monument of Rollrich stones in 
England, or sepulchral monument probably in Oxford- 
erected by Rollo, who after conquered Camden. 
Normandy ; where 'tis not improbable some- 
what might be discovered. Meanwhile to 
what nation or person belonged that large 
urn found at Ashbury, containing mighty '" Cheshire, 
bones, and a buckler ; what those large urns de rebus 
found at Little Massingham ; or why the jJ/NTrSik 
Anglesea urns are placed with their mouths Hollings-' 
downward, remains yet undiscovered. "*'^^* 



266 HYDRIOTAPHIA 



CHAPTER III 



Plaistered and whited sepulchres were 
anciently affected in cadaverous and corrupted 

S. Matt. burials; and the rigid Jews were wont to 

xxiu. 29. garnish the sepulchres of the righteous. 

Euripides. Ulysses^ in Hecuba, cared not how meanly he 
lived, so he might find a noble tomb after death. 
Great princes affected great monuments ; and 
the fair and larger urns contained no vulgar 
ashes, which makes that disparity in those 
which time discovereth among us. The 
present urns were not of one capacity, the 
largest containing above a gallon, some not 
much above half that measure ; nor all of one 
figure, wherein there is no strict conformity 
in the same or different countries ; observable 
from those represented by Casalius, Bosio, and 
others, though all found in Italy ; while many 
have handles, ears, and long necks, but most 
imitate a circular figure, in a spherical and 
round composure ; whether from any mystery, 
best duration or capacity, were but a con- 
jecture. But the common form with necks 
was a proper figure, making our last bed like 
our first; nor much unlike the urns of our 

Ps. ixiii. nativity while we lay in the nether part of the 
earth, and inward vault of our microcosm. 
Many urns are red, these but of a black colour 
somewhat smooth, and dully sounding, which 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 267 

begat some doubt, whether they were burnt, 
or only baked in oven or sun, according to the 
ancient way, in many bricks, tiles, pots, and 
testaceous works ; but as the word testa is 
properly to be taken, when occurring without 
addition, and chiefly intended by Pliny, when 
he commendeth bricks and tiles of two years 
old, and to make them in the spring. Nor 
only these concealed pieces, but the open 
magnificence of antiquity, ran much in the 
artifice of clay. Hereof the house of Mausolus 
was built, thus old Jupiter stood in the Capitol, 
and the statua of Hercules, made in the reign 
of Tarquinius Priscus, was extant in Pliny's 
days. And such as declined burning or funeral 
urns, affected coffins of clay, according to the 
mode of Pythagoras, a way preferred by Varro. 
But the spirits of great ones was above these 
circumscriptions, affecting copper, silver, gold, 
and porphyry urns, wherein Severus lay, after 
a serious view and sentence on that which 
should contain him.^ Some of these urns 
were thought to have been silvered over, 
from sparklings in several pots, with small 
tinsel parcels; uncertain whether from the 
earth, or the first mixture in them. 

Among these urns we could obtain no good 
account of their coverings ; only one seemed 
arched over with some kind of brick-work. 
Of those found at Buxton, some were covered 
with flints, some, in other parts, with tiles ; 
those at Yarmouth Castor were closed with 
Roman bricks, and some have proper earthen 

1 Xioprjcrets tov dvdpiairov, 6v i] olKovpAvrj qvk €Xfipv<^^^' 
— Dion. 



268 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

covers adapted and fitted to them. But in 
the Homerieal urn of Patroclus^ whatever was 
the solid tegument, we find the immediate 
covering to be a purple piece of silk : and such 
as had no covers might have the earth closely 
pressed into them, after which disposure were 
probably some of these, wherein we found the 
bones and ashes half mortared unto the sand 
and sides of the urn, and some long roots of 
quich, or dog's-grass, wreathed about the 
bones. 

No lamps, included liquors, lacrymatories, 
or tear bottles, attended these rural urns, 
either as sacred unto the manes, or passionate 
expressions of their surviving friends. While 
with rich flames, and hired tears, they solemn- 
ized their obsequies, and in the most lamented 
monuments made one part of their inscriptions. 
Cum Some find sepulchral vessels containing liquors, 

posuere. which time hath incrassated into jellies. For, 
besides these lacrymatories, notable lamps, 
with vessels of oils, and aromatical liquors, 
attended noble ossuaries ; and some yet retain- 
Lazius. ing a vinosity and spirit in them, which, if any 
have tasted, they have far exceeded the palates 
of antiquity. Liquors not to be computed by 
years of annual magistrates, but by great con- 
junctions and the fatal periods of kingdoms.^ 
The draughts of consulary date were but crude 
unto these, and Opimian wine^ but in the 
must unto them. 

In sundry graves and sepulchres we meet 
with rings, coins, and chalices. Ancient 

^ About five hundred years. — Plato. 

2 Vinum Opiminianwrn annorum centvm. — Petron. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 269 

frugality was so severe, that they allowed no 
gold to attend the corpse, but only that which 
served to fasten their teeth/ Whether the 
Opaline stone in this urn were burnt upon the 
finger of the dead, or cast into the fire by 
some affectionate friend, it will consist with 
either custom. But other incinerable sub- 
stances were found so fresh, that they could 
feel no singe from fire. These, upon view, 
were judged to be wood ; but, sinking in 
water, and tried by the fire, we found them 
to be bone or ivory. In their hardness and 
yellow colour they most resembled box, which, 
in old expressions, found the epithet of 
eternal,^ and perhaps in such conservatories 
might have passed uncorrupted. 

That bay leaves were found green in the 
tomb of S. Humbert, after an hundred and Surius. 
fifty years, was looked upon as miraculous. 
Remarkable it was unto old spectators, that 
the cypress of the temple of Diana lasted so 
many hundred years. The wood of the ark, 
and olive-rod of Aaron, were older at the 
captivity ; but the cypress of the ark of Noah 
was the greatest vegetable antiquity, if 
Josephus were not deceived by some fragments 
of it in his days : to omit the moor logs and 
fir-trees found underground in many parts of 
England ; the undated ruins of winds, floods, 
or earthquakes, and which in Flanders still 

1 12 Tahul. 1. xi. De Jure Sacro. Neve aurum adito 
ast quoi auro denies vincti cscunt im cum ilo sepelire 
urereve, se fraude esto. 

2 Plin. 1. xvi. Inter ^v\a daaTrj nwmerat Theo- 
phrastus. 



270 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 



GOROP. 

Becanus in 
Niloscopio. 



show from what quarter they fell, as generally 
lying in a north-east position. 

But though we found not these pieces to 
be wood, according to first apprehension, yet 
we missed not altogether of some woody 
substance ; for the bones were not so clearly 
picked but some coals were found amongst 
them ; a way to make wood perpetual, and a 
fit associate for metal, whereon was laid the 
foundation of the great Ephesian temple, and 
which were made the lasting tests of old 
boundaries and landmarks. Whilst we look 
on these, we admire not observations of coals 
found fresh after four hundred years. ^ In a 
\t Eimham. long-descrted habitation even egg-shells have 
been found fresh, not tending to corruption. 

In the monument of King Childerick the 
iron reliques were found all rusty and crumb- 
ling into pieces ; but our little iron pins, which 
fastened the ivory works, held well together, 
and lost not their magnetical quality, though 
wanting a tenacious moisture for the firmer 
union of parts ; although it be hardly drawn 
into fusion, yet that metal soon submitteth 
unto rust and dissolution. In the brazen 
pieces we admired not the duration, but the 
freedom from rust, and ill savour, upon the 
hardest attrition ; but now exposed unto the 
piercing atoms of air, in the space of a few 
months, they begin to spot and betray their 
green entrails. We conceive not these urns 
to have descended thus naked as they appear, 
or to have entered their graves without the old 
habit of flowers. The urn of Philopoemen 
Of Beringuccio nella pyrotechnia. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 271 

was so laden with flowers and ribbons, that it 
afforded no sight of itself. The rigid Lycurgus 
allowed olive and myrtle. The Athenians 
might fairly except against the practice of 
Democritus, to be buried up in honey, as fear- 
ing to embezzle a great commodity of their 
country, and the best of that kind in Europe. 
But Plato seemed too frugally politick, who 
allowed no larger monument than would con- 
tain four heroick verses, and designed the most 
barren ground for sepulture : though we can- 
not commend the goodness of that sepulchral 
ground which was set at no higher rate than 
the mean salary of Judas. Though the earth 
had confounded the ashes of these ossuaries, 
yet the bones were so smartly burnt, that some 
thin plates of brass were found half melted 
among them. Whereby we apprehend they 
were not of the meanest carcases, perfunctorily 
fired, as sometimes in military, and commonly 
in pestilence, burnings ; or after the manner 
of abject corpses, huddled forth and carelessly 
burnt, without the Esquiline Port at Rome ; 
which was an affront continued upon Tiberius, 
while they but half burnt his body,i and in 
the amphitheatre, according to the custom in 
notable malefactors ; whereas Nero seemed 
not so much to fear his death as that his head 
should be cut off and his body not burnt 
entire. 

Some, finding many fragments of skulls in 
these urns, suspected a mixture of bones ; in 
none we searched was there cause of such 

1 Sueton. in vita Tib. Et in amphitheatro semiustu- 
landum, not. Casaub. 



272 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

conjecture, though sometimes they decUned 
SuETON. not that practice. — The ashes of Domitian 
^Domitian. wcre mingled with those of Julia ; of Achilles 
with those of Patroclus. All urns contained 
not single ashes; without confused burnings 
they affectionately compounded their bones ; 
passionately endeavouring to continue their 
living unions. And when distance of death 
denied such conj unction s^, unsatisfied affec- 
tions conceived some satisfaction to be neigh- 
bours in the grave, to lie urn by urn, and 
touch but in their manes. And many were 
so curious to continue their living relations, 
that they contrived large and family urns, 
wherein the ashes of their nearest friends 
and kindred might successively be received,^ 
at least some parcels thereof, while their 
collateral memorials lay in minor vessels 
about them. 

Antiquity held too light thoughts from 
objects of mortality, while some drew provoca- 
tives of mirth from anatomies,^ and jugglers 
showed tricks with skeletons. When fiddlers 
made not so pleasant mirth as fencers, and 
men could sit with quiet stomachs, while 
hanging was played before them.^ Old con- 
siderations made few mementoes by skulls 
and bones upon their monuments. In the 

^ See the most learned and worthy Mr. M. Casaubon 
upon Antoninus. 

2 Sic erimus cuncti, etc. Ergo dum vivimus vivamus. 

3 'Aydovov irai^eiv. A barbarous pastime at feasts, 
when men stood upon a rolling globe, with their necks 
in a rope and a knife in their hands, ready to cut it 
when the stone was rolled away ; wherein if they failed, 
they lost their lives, to the laughter of their spectators. — 
Athenaeus. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 278 

^Egyptian obelisks and hieroglyphical figures 
it is not easy to meet with bones. The sepul- 
chral lamps speak nothing less than sepulture, 
and in their literal draughts prove often 
obscene and antick pieces. Where we find 
D.M. it is obvious to meet with sacrificing/?/" 
pateras and vessels of libation upon old "^^^" "'' 
sepulchral monuments. In the Jewish hypo- Bosio. 
gaeum and subterranean cell at Rome, was 
little observable beside the variety of lamps 
and frequent draughts of the holy candle- 
stick. In authentick draughts of Anthony and 
Jerome we meet with thigh-bones and death's- 
heads; but the cemeterial cells of ancient 
Christians and martyrs were filled with 
draughts of Scripture stories ; not declining 
the flourishes of cypress, palms, and olive, and 
the mystical figures of peacocks, doves, and 
cocks ; but iterately affecting the portraits of 
Enoch, Lazarus, Jonas, and the vision of 
Ezekiel, as hopeful draughts, and hinting 
imagery of the resurrection, which is the life 
of the grave, and sweetens our habitations in 
the land of moles and pismires. 

Gentile inscriptions precisely delivered the 
extent of men's lives, seldom the manner of 
their deaths, which history itself so often 
leaves obscure in the records of memorable 
persons. There is scarce any philosopher but 
dies twice or thrice in Laertius; nor almost 
any life without two or three deaths in 
Plutarch; which makes the tragical ends of 
noble persons more favourably resented by 
compassionate readers who find some relief in 
the election of such differences. 



274 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 



Pausan. in 
Atticis. 



Traj'anus. 
Dion. 



The certainty of death is attended with 
uncertainties^ in time, manner, places. The 
variety of monuments hath often obscured 
true graves ; and cenotaphs confounded sepul- 
chres. For beside their real tombs, many 
have found honorary and empty sepulchres. 
The variety of Homer's monuments made him 
of various countries. Euripides had his tomb 
in Africa, but his sepulture in Macedonia. 
And Severus^ found his real sepulchre in 
Rome, but his empty grave in Gallia. 

He that lay in a golden urn eminently 
above the earth, was not like to find the quiet 
of his bones. Many of these urns were broke 
by a vulgar discoverer in hope of enclosed 
treasure. The ashes of Marcellus ^ were lost 
above ground, upon the like account. Where 
profit hath prompted, no age hath wanted 
such miners. For which the most barbarous 
expilators found the most civil rhetorick. Gold 
once out of the earth is no more due unto it ; 
what was unreasonably committed to the 
ground, is reasonably resumed from it ; let 
monuments and rich fabricks, not riches, adorn 
men's ashes. The commerce of the living is 
not to be transferred unto the dead ; it is not 
injustice to take that which none complains 
to lose, and no man is wronged where no man 
is possessor. 

What virtue yet sleeps in this terra damnata 
and aged cinders, were petty magick to experi- 



1 Lamprid. in vit. Alexand. Sever i. 

2 Plut. in vit. Marcelli. The commission of the 
Gothish King Theodoric for finding out sepulchral 
treasure.— Cassiodor. Variarum, i. 4. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 275 

ment. These crumbling reliques and long 
fired particles superannuate such expecta- 
tions ; bones, hairs, nails, and teeth of the 
dead, were the treasures of old sorcerers. In 
vain we revive such practices ; present super- 
stition too visibly perpetuates the folly of our 
forefathers, wherein unto old observation ^ 
this island was so complete, that it might 
have instructed Persia. 

Plato's historian of the other world lies 
twelve days incorrupted, while his soul was 
viewing the large stations of the dead. How 
to keep the corpse seven days from corrup- 
tion by anointing and washing, without ex- 
enteration, were an hazardable piece of art, 
in our choicest practice. How they made 
distinct separation of bones and ashes from 
fiery admixture, hath found no historical 
solution ; though they seemed to make a 
distinct collection, and overlooked not Pyrrhus 
his toe which could not be burnt. Some 
provision they might make by fictile vessels, 
coverings, tiles, or flat stones, upon and about 
the body (and in the same field, not far from 
these urns, many stones were found under 
ground), as also by careful separation of ex- 
traneous matter, composing and raking up 
the burnt bones with forks, observable in that 
notable lamp of [Joan.] Galvanus.^ Martianus, 
who had the sight of the vas ustrimim^ or vessel 



1 Britannia hodie earn attonite celehrat tantis ceremoniis 
ut dedisse Per sis videri possit. — Plin. 1. 29. 

2 To be seen in Licet, de reconditis veterum lucernis 
[p. 599, fol. 1653]. 

3 Topograph. Roma ex Martiano. Erat et vas ustrinum 



276 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

wherein they burnt the dead, found in the 
Esquiline field at Rome, might have afforded 
clearer solution. But their insatisfaction 
herein begat that remarkable invention in the 
funerkl pyres of some princes, by incombust- 
ible sheets made with a texture of asbestos, 
incremable flax, or salamander's wool, which 
preserved their bones and ashes incommixed. 
How the bulk of a man should sink into so 
few pounds of bones and ashes, may seem 
strange unto any who considers not its con- 
stitution, and how slender a mass will remain 
upon an open and urging fire of the carnal 
composition. Even bones themselves, re- 
duced into ashes, do abate a notable propor- 
tion; and consisting much of a volatile salt, 
when that is fired out, make a light kind of 
cinders. Although their bulk be dispropor- 
tionable to their weight, when the heavy 
principle of salt is fired out, and the earth 
almost only remaineth ; observable in sallow, 
which makes more ashes than oak, and dis- 
covers the common fraud of selling ashes by 
measure, and not by ponderation. 

Some bones make best skeletons,^ some 

bodies quick and speediest ashes. Who would 

expect a quick flame from hydropical Hera- 

clitus ? The poisoned soldier when his belly 

inviid brake, put out two pyres in Plutarch. But 

Grace. jjj |.j^g plaguc of Athens, one private pyre 

Thucy- served two or three intruders ; and the Sara- 

^'^^^' cens burnt in large heaps, by the king of 

appellatum, quod in co cadavera comhurerentur. Cap. de 
Campo Esquilino, 

1 Old bones according to Lyserus. Those of young 
persons not tall nor fat, according to Columbus. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 277 

Castile, showed how little fuel sufficeth. 
Though the funeral pyre of Patroclus took Laurent. 
up an hundred foot,^ a piece of an old boat 
burnt Pompey; and if the burthen of Isaac 
were sufficient for an holocaust,, a man may 
carry his own pyre. 

From animals are drawn good burning 
lights, and good medicines against burning. 
Though the seminal humour seems of a con- Aib. Ovor. 
trary nature to fire, yet the body completed 
proves a combustible lump, wherein fire finds 
flame even from bones, and some fuel almost 
from all parts ; though the metropolis of 
humidity ^ seems least disposed unto it, which 
might render the skulls of these urns less 
burned than other bones. But all flies or 
sinks before fire almost in all bodies: when 
the common ligament is dissolved, the attenu- 
able parts ascend, the rest subside in coal, 
calx, or ashes. 

To burn the bones of the king of Edom for 
lime seems no irrational ferity ; but to drink Amos ii. i. 
of the ashes of dead relations,^ a passionate 
prodigahty. He that hath the ashes of his 
friend, hath an everlasting treasure; where 
fire taketh leave, corruption slowly enters. 
In bones well burnt, fire makes a wall against 
itself; experimented in cupels, and tests of 
metals, which consist of such ingredients. 
What the sun compoundeth, fire analyseth, not 
transmuteth. That devouring agent leaves 
almost always a morsel for the earth, whereof 

1 'E/caTo/iTreSoj/ l^vda 7) hda. 

2 The brain. — Hippocrates. 

' As Artemisia of her husbaud Mausolus. 



278 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

all things are but a colony; and which, if 
time permits, the mother element will have 
in their primitive mass again. 

He that looks for urns and old sepulchral 
reliques, must not seek them in the ruins of 
temples, where no religion anciently placed 
them. These were found in a field, according 
to ancient custom, in noble or private burial ; 
the old practice of the Canaanites, the family 
of Abraham, and the burying-place of Joshua, 
in the borders of his possessions; and also 
agreeable unto Roman practice to bury by 
highways, whereby their monuments were 
under eye ; — memorials of themselves, and 
mementoes of mortality unto living passengers ; 
whom the epitaphs of great ones were fain to 
beg to stay and look upon them, — a language 
siste viator, though sometimcs used, not so proper in 
church inscriptions. The sensible rhetorick of 
the dead, to exemplarity of good life, first 
admitted the bones of pious men and martyrs 
within church walls, which in succeeding ages 
crept into promiscuous practice : while Con- 
stantine was peculiarly favoured to be ad- 
mitted into the church porch, and the first 
thus buried in England, was in the days of 
Cuthred. 

Christians dispute how their bodies should 
lie in the grave. ^ In urnal interment they 
clearly escaped this controversy. Though we 
decline the religious consideration, yet in 
cemeterial and narrower burying-places, to 
avoid confusion and cross-position, a certain 
posture were to be admitted: which even 
1 Kirchmannus, de Funeributs. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 279 

Pagan civility observed. The Persians lay 
north and south ; the Megarians and Phoeni- 
cians placed their heads to the east; the 
Athenians, some think, towards the west, 
which Christians still retain. And Beda will 
have it to be the posture of our Saviour. 
That he was crucified with his face toward 
the west, we will not contend with tradition 
£nd probable account; but we applaud not 
ihe hand of the painter, in exalting his cross 
so high above those on either side : since 
hereof we find no authentick account in history, 
and even the crosses found by Helena, pre- 
tend no such distinction from longitude or 
dimension. 

To be knaved out of our graves, to have our 
skulls made drinking-bowls, and our bones 
turned into pipes, to delight and sport our 
enemies, are tragical abominations escaped in 
burning burials. 

Urnal interments and burnt reliques lie not 
in fear of worms, or to be an heritage for 
serpents. In carnal sepulture, corruptions 
seem peculiar unto parts ; and some speak of 
snakes out of the spinal marrow. But while 
we suppose common worms in graves, 'tis not 
easy to find any there; few in churchyards 
above a foot deep, fewer or none in churches 
though in fresh-decayed bodies. Teeth, bones, 
and hair give the most lasting defiance to 
corruption. In an hydropical body, ten years 
buried in the churchyard, we met with a fat 
concretion, where the nitre of the earth, and 
the salt and lixivious liquor of the body, had 
coagulated large lumps of fat into the con- 



280 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

sistence of the hardest Castile soap, whereof 
part remaineth with us. After a battle with 
the Persians, the Roman corpses decayed in 
a few days, while the Persian bodies remained 
dry and uncorrupted. Bodies in the same 
ground do not uniformly dissolve, nor bones 
equally moulder ; whereof in the opprobrious 
disease, we expect no long duration. The 
body of the Marquess of Dorset seemed sound 
and handsomely cere-clothed, that after 
seventy-eight years was found uncorrupted. ^ 
Common tombs preserve not beyond powder : 
a firmer consistence and compage of parts 
might be expected from arefaction, deep 
burial, or charcoal. The greatest antiquities 
of mortal bodies may remain in putrefied 
bones, whereof, though we take not in the 
pillar of Lot's wife, or metamorphosis of 
Ortelius,2 some may be older than pyramids, 
in the putrefied reliques of the general in- 
undation. When Alexander opened the tomb 
of Cyrus, the remaining bones discovered his 
proportion, whereof urnal fragments afford 
but a bad conjecture, and have this disadvant- 
age of grave interments, that they leave us 
ignorant of most personal discoveries. For 
since bones afford not only rectitude and 
stabiHty but figure unto the body, it is no 
impossible physiognomy to conjecture at fleshy 

1 Of Thomas, Marquess of Dorset, whose body being 
biiried 1530, was, 1608, upon the cutting open of the cere- 
cloth, found perfect and nothing corrupted, the flesh not 
hardened, but in colour, proportion, and softness like an 
ordinary corpse newly to be interred. — Burton's Dcscript. 
of Leicestershire. 

2 In his map of Russia. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 281 

appendencies, and after what shape the muscles 
and carnous parts might hang in their full 
consistencies. A full-spread cariola ^ shows a 
well-shaped horse behind ; handsome formed 
skulls give some analogy to fleshy resemblance. 
A critical view of bones makes a good distinc- 
tion of sexes. Even colour is not beyond 
conjecture, since it is hard to be deceived in 
the distinction of Negroes' skulls.^ Dante's ^ 
characters are to be found in skulls as well as 
faces. Hercules is not only known by his 
foot. Other parts make out their compro- 
portions and inferences upon whole or parts. 
And since the dimensions of the head measure 
the whole body, and the figure thereof gives 
conjecture of the principal faculties, physio- 
gnomy outlives ourselves, and ends not in our 
graves. 

Severe contemplators, observing these last- 
ing reliques, may think them good monuments 
of persons past, little advantage to future 
beings ; and, considering that power which 
subdueth all things unto itself, that can resume 
the scattered atoms, or identify out of any- 

1 That part in the skeleton of a horse, which is made by 
the haunch-bones. 

2 For their extraordinary thickness. 

3 The poet Dante, in his view of Purgatory, found 
gluttons so meagre, and extenuated, that he conceited 
them to have been in the siege of Jerusalem, and that it 
was easy to have discovered Hovio or Ovw in their faces : 
M being made by the two lines of their cheeks, arching 
over the eyebrows to the nose, and their sunk eyes making 
O O, which makes up Omo. 

^Parean Vocchiaje anella senza gemme. 
Chi nel viso degli uomini legge omo. 
Bene avria quivi conosciuto I'emme.^ 

— Purgat. xxiii. 31. 



282 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

things conceive it superfluous to expect a 
resurrection out of reliques : but the soul 
subsisting, other matter, clothed with due 
accidents, may salve the individuality. Yet 
the saints, we observe, arose from graves and 
monuments about the Holy City. Some think 
the ancient patriarchs so earnestly desired to 
lay their bones in Canaan, as hoping to make 
a part of that resurrection ; and, though thirty 
miles from Mount Calvary, at least to lie in 
that region which should produce the first- 
fruits of the dead. And if, according to 
learned conjecture, the bodies of men shall 
rise where their greatest reliques remain, 
many are not like to err in the topography 
of their resurrection, though their bones or 
bodies be after translated by angels into the 
rzW«. field of Ezekiel's vision, or as some will order 

it, into the valley of judgment, or Jehosaphat. 



in Ezek. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 283 



CHAPTER IV 



Christians have handsomely glossed the 
deformity of death by careful consideration 
of the body, and civil rites which take off 
brutal terminations : and though they con- 
ceived all reparable by a resurrection, cast not 
off all care of interment. And since the 
ashes of sacrifices burnt upon the altar of God 
were carefully carried out by the priests, 
and deposed in a clean field ; since they 
acknowledged their bodies to be the lodging 
of Christ, and temples of the Holy Ghost, they 
devolved not all upon the sufficiency of soul- 
existence ; and therefore with long services 
and full solemnities, concluded their last 
exequies, wherein to all distinctions the 
Greek devotion seems most pathetically cere- 
monious.^ 

Christian invention hath chiefly driven at 
rites, which speak hopes of another life, and 
hints of a resurrection. And if the ancient 
Gentiles held not the immortality of their 
better part, and some subsistence after death, 
in several rites, customs, actions, and expres- 
sions, they contradicted their own opinions : 
wherein Democritus went high, even to the 
thought of a resurrection, as scoffingly recorded 
by Pliny. 2 What can be more express than 

1 Bitv/xle Grcecum, opera J. Goar, in officio exequiarum. 

2 Similis .... reviviscendi promissa Democrito 



284 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

the expression of Phocylides ? ^ Or who would 
expect from Lucretius ^ a sentence of Eccle- 
siastes ? Before Plato could speak, the soul 
had wings in Homer, which fell not, but flew 
out of the body into the mansions of the dead ; 
who also observed that handsome distinction 
of Demas and Soma, for the body conjoined 
to the soul, and body separated from it. 
Lucian spoke much truth in jest, when he 
said that part of Hercules which proceeded 
from Alcmena perished, that from Jupiter 
Plato in remained immortal. Thus Socrates was con- 
Pha:d. |.gj^|. ^j^^^ j^jg friends should bury his body, 

so they would not think they buried Socrates ; 
and, regarding only his immortal part, was 
indifferent to be burnt or buried. From such 
considerations, Diogenes might contemn sepul- 
ture, and, being satisfied that the soul could 
not perish, grow careless of corporal interaient. 
The Stoicks, who thought the souls of wise 
men had their habitation about the moon, 
might make slight account of subterraneous 
deposition; whereas the Pythagoreans and 
transcorporating philosophers, who were to be 
often buried, held great care of their inter- 
ment. And the Platonicks rejected not a due 
care of the grave, though they put their ashes 
to unreasonable expectations, in their tedious 
term of return and long set revolution. 

Men have lost their reason in nothing so 

vanitas, qui non revixit ipse. Quae (mcdwm) ista 
dementia est, iterari vitam morte ? — Plin. 1. vii. c. 58. 

1 Kai Tdxa. 5' iK yairjs eXiri^ofxev is (pdos eKdeiv XeirJ/av 
dToixo/J-^vuv, et deinceps. 

2 Gedit enim retro de terra quod fuit ante in terrain, 
etc. — Lucret. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 285 

much as their religion, wherein stones and 
clouts make martyrs ; and, since the religion 
of one seems madness unto another, to afford 
an account or rational of old rite requires no 
rigid reader. That they kindled the pyre 
aversely, or turning their face from it, was an 
handsome symbol of unwilling ministration. 
That they washed their bones with wine and 
milk ; that the mother wrapped them in linen, 
and dried them in her bosom, the first foster- 
ing part and place of their nourishment ; that 
they opened their eyes towards heaven before 
they kindled the fire, as the place of their 
hopes or original, were no improper cere- 
monies. Their last valediction, ^ thrice uttered 
by the attendants, was also very solemn, and 
somewhat answered by Christians, who thought 
it too little, if they threw not the earth thrice 
upon the interred body. That, in strewing 
their tombs, the Romans affected the rose; 
the Greeks amaranthus and myrtle : that the 
funeral pyre consisted of sweet fuel, cypress, 
fir, larix, yew, and trees perpetually verdant, 
lay silent expressions of their surviving hopes. 
Wherein Christians, which deck their cofiins 
with bays, have found a more elegant emblem ; 
for that tree, seeming dead, will restore itself 
from the root, and its dry and exsuccous leaves 
resume their verdure again ; which, if we 
mistake not, we have also observed in furze. 
Whether the planting of yew in churchyards 
hold not its original from ancient funeral rites, 
or as an emblem of resurrection from its 

1 Vale, rale, vale, nos te ordine gv/) natura permittet 
sequamur. 



286 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

perpetual verdure, may also admit conjec- 
ture. 

They made use of musick to excite or quiet 
the affections of their friends, according to 
different harmonies. But the secret and 
symbolical hint was the harmonical nature of 
the soul; which, delivered from the body, 
went again to enjoy the primitive harmony 
of heaven, from whence it first descended ; 
which, according to its progress traced by 
antiquity, came down by Cancer, and ascended 
by Capricornus. 

They burnt not children before their teeth 
appeared, as apprehending their bodies too 
tender a morsel for fire, and that their gristly 
bones would scarce leave separable reliques 
after the pyral combustion. That they kindled 
not fire in their houses for some days after 
was a strict memorial of the late afflicting fire. 
And mourning without hope, they had an 
happy fraud against excessive lamentations, 
by a common opinion that deep sorrows dis- 
turbed their ghosts.^ 

That they buried their dead on their backs, 
or in a supine position, seems agreeable unto 
profound sleep, and common posture of dying; 
contrary to the most natural way of birth ; nor 
unlike our pendulous posture, in the doubtful 
state of the womb. Diogenes was singular, 
who preferred a prone situation in the grave ; 
Russians ^^^ some Christians like neither, who decline 
etc. the figure of rest, and make choice of an erect 

posture. 

That they carried them out of the world with 
1 l^u manes ne kede nieos. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 287 

their feet forward^ was not inconsonant unto 
reason ; as contrary unto the native posture of 
man, and his production first into it ; and also 
agreeable unto their opinions, while they bid 
adieu unto the world, not to look again upon 
it ; whereas Mahometans, who think to return 
to a delightful life again, are carried forth 
with their heads forward, and looking toward 
their houses. 

They closed their eyes, as parts which first 
die, or first discover the sad effects of death. 
But their iterated clamations to excitate their 
dying or dead friends, or revoke them unto 
life again, was a vanity of affection ; as not 
presumably ignorant of the critical tests of 
death, by apposition of feathers, glasses, and 
reflection of figures, which dead eyes represent 
not : which, however not strictly verifiable in 
fresh and warm cadavers, could hardly elude 
the test, in corpses of four or five days.^ 

That they sucked in the last breath of their 
expiring friends, was surely a practice of no 
medical institution, but a loose opinion that 
the soul passed out that way, and a fondness 
of affection, from some Pythagorical founda- 
tion,2 that the spirit of one body passed into 
another, which they wished might be their 
own. 

That they poured oil upon the pyre, was 
a tolerable practice, while the intention 
rested in facilitating the accension. But to 
place good omens in the quick and speedy 
burning, to sacrifice unto the winds for a 

^ At least by some difference from living eyes. 
2 Francesco Perucci, Porwpe funehri. 



288 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

dispatch in this office, was a low form of 
superstition. 

The archimime, or jester, attending the 
funeral train, and imitating the speeches, 
gesture, and manners of the deceased, was 
too light for such solemnities, contradicting 
their funeral orations and doleful rites of the 
grave. 

That they buried a piece of money with 
them as a fee of the Elysian ferryman, was 
a practice full of folly. But the ancient 
custom of placing coins in considerable urns, 
and the present practice of burying medals 
in the nol3le foundations of Europe, are laud- 
able ways of historical discoveries, in actions, 
persons, chronologies ; and posterity will 
applaud them. 

We examine not the old laws of sepulture, 
exempting certain persons from burial or 
burning. But hereby we apprehend that 
these were not the bones of persons planet- 
struck or burnt with fire from heaven ; no 
reliques of traitors to their country, self- 
killers, or sacrilegious malefactors ; persons 
in old apprehension unworthy of the earth ; 
condemned unto the Tartarus of hell, and 
bottomless pit of Pluto, from whence there 
was no redemption. 

Nor were only many customs questionable 
in order to their obsequies, but also sundry 
practices, fictions, and conceptions, discordant 
or obscure, of their state and future beings. 
Whether unto eight or ten bodies of men to 
add one of a woman, as being more inflam- 
mable, and unctuously constituted for the better 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 289 

pyral combustion, were any rational practice ; 
or whetlier the complaint of Periander's wife 
be tolerable, that wanting her funeral burn- 
ing, she suffered intolerable cold in hell, 
according to the constitution of the infernal 
house of Pluto, wherein cold makes a great 
part of their tortures ; it cannot pass without 
some question. 

Why the female ghosts appear unto Ulysses, 
before the heroes and masculine spirits, — why 
the psyche or soul of Tiresias is of the mascu- 
line gender,! who, being blind on earth, sees 
more than all the rest in hell ; why the 
funeral suppers consisted of eggs, beans, 
smallage, and lettuce, since the dead are 
made to eat asphodels about the Elysian in Lucian. 
meadows, — why, since there is no sacrifice 
acceptable, nor any propitiation for the cove- 
nant of the grave, men set up the deity 
of Morta, and fruitlessly adored divinities 
without ears, it cannot escape some doubt. 

The dead seem all alive in the humane 
Hades of Homer, yet cannot they speak, 
prophesy, or know the living except they 
drink blood, wherein is the life of man. And 
therefore the souls of Penelope's paramours, 
conducted by Mercury, chirped like bats, and 
those which followed Hercules made a noise 
but like a flock of birds. 

The departed spirits know things past and 
to come ; yet are ignorant of things present. 
Agamemnon foretells what should happen 
unto Ulysses; yet ignorantly enquires what 
is become of his own son. The ghosts are 

1 In Homer : — 'irvxv Qt^^ouov Teipeaiao (TKijirTpov ?x^^- 
T 



290 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

afraid of swords in Homer; yet Sibylla tells 
iEneas in Virgil, the thin habit of spirits was 
beyond the force of weapons. The spirits put 
off their malice with their bodies, and Caesar 
and Pompey accord in Latin hell ; yet Ajax, 
in Homer, endm-es not a conference with 
Ulysses : and Deiphobus appears all mangled 
in Virgil's ghosts, yet we meet with perfect 
shadows among the wounded ghosts of 
Homer. 

Since Charon in Lucian applauds his condi- 
tion among the dead, whether it be hand- 
somely said of Achilles, that living contemner 
of death, that he had rather be a ploughman's 
servant, than emperor of the dead .'' How is 
Hercules his soul in hell, and yet in heaven ; 
and Julius his soul in a star, yet seen by 
JEnesLS in hell .'* — except the ghosts were but 
images and shadows of the soul, received in 
higher mansions, according to the ancient 
division of body, soul, and image, or simula- 
chrum of them both. The particulars of future 
beings must needs be dark unto ancient 
theories, which Chrktian philosophy yet 
determines but in a cloud of opinions. A 
dialogue between two infants in the womb 
concerning the state of this world, might 
handsomely illustrate our ignorance of the 
next, whereof methinks we yet discourse in 
Plato's den, and are but embryon philo- 
sophers. 

Pythagoras escapes in the fabulous hell of 

Dti in/emo, Dante, among that swarm of philosophers, 

cant. 4. wherein, whilst we meet with Plato and 

Socrates, Cato is to be found in no lower 



I 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 291 

place than purgatory. Among all the set, 
Epicurus is most considerable, whom men 
make honest without an Elysium, who con- 
temned life without encouragement of im- 
mortality, and making nothing after death, 
yet made nothing of the king of terrors. 

Were the happiness of the next world as 
closely apprehended as the felicities of this, 
it were a martyrdom to live ; and unto such 
as consider none hereafter, it must be more 
than death to die, which makes us amazed at 
those audacities that durst be nothing and 
return into their chaos again. Certainly such 
spirits as could contemn death, when they 
expected no better being after, would have 
scorned to live, had they known any. And 
therefore we applaud not the judgment of 
Machiavel, that Christianity makes men 
cowards, or that with the confidence of but 
half-dying, the despised virtues of patience 
and humility have abased the spirits of men, 
which Pagan principles exalted; but rather 
regulated the wildness of audacities, in the 
attempts, grounds, and eternal sequels of 
death ; wherein men of the boldest spirits are 
often prodigiously temerarious. Nor can we 
extenuate the valour of ancient martyrs, who 
contemned death in the uncomfortable scene 
of their lives, and in their decrepit martyr- 
doms did probably lose not many months of 
their days, or parted with life when it was 
scarce worth the living. For (beside that 
long time past holds no consideration unto a 
slender time to come) they had no small 
disadvantage from the constitution of old age. 



292 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

which naturally makes men fearful, and com- 
plexionally superannuated from the bold and 
courageous thoughts of youth and fervent 
years. But the contempt of death from 
corporal animosity, promoteth not our felicity. 
They may sit in the orchestra, and noblest 
seats of heaven, who have held up shaking 
hands in the fire, and humanly contended for 
glory. 

Meanwhile Epicurus lies deep in Dante's 
hell, wherein we meet with tombs enclosing 
souls which denied their immortalities. But 
whether the virtuous heathen, who lived 
better than he spake, or erring in the princi- 
ples of himself, yet lived above philosophers 
of more specious maxims, lie so deep as he 
is placed, at least so low as not to rise against 
Christians_, who believing or knowing that 
truth, have lastingly denied it in their prac- 
tice and conversation — were a query too sad 
to insist on. 

But all or most apprehensions rested in 
opinions of some future being, which, ignor- 
antly or coldly believed, begat those per- 
verted conceptions, ceremonies, sayings, which 
Christians pity or laugh at. Happy are they 
which live not in that disadvantage of time, 
when men could say little for futurity, but 
from reason : whereby the noblest minds fell 
often upon doubtful deaths, and melancholick 
dissolutions. With these hopes, Socrates 
warmed his doubtful spirits against that cold 
potion ; and Cato, before he durst give the 
fatal stroke, spent part of the night in reading 
the Immortality of Plato, thereby confirming 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 293 

his wavering hand unto the animosity of that 
attempt. 

It is the heaviest stone that melancholy 
can throw at a man, to tell him he is at the 
end of his nature ; or that there is no further 
state to come, unto which this seems progres- 
sional, and otherwise made in vain. Without 
this accomplishment, the natural expectation 
and desire of such a state were but a fallacy 
in nature ; unsatisfied considerators would 
quarrel the justice of their constitutions, and 
rest content that Adam had fallen lower; 
whereby, by knowing no other original, and 
deeper ignorance of themselves, they might 
have enjoyed the happiness of inferior crea- 
tures, who in tranquillity possess their con- 
stitutions, as having not the apprehension to 
deplore their own natures, and, being framed 
below the circumference of these hopes, or 
cognition of better being, the wisdom of God 
hath necessitated their contentment : but the 
superior ingredient and obscured part of our 
selves, whereunto all present felicities afford 
no resting contentment, will be able at last to 
tell us, we are more than our present selves, 
and evacuate such hopes in the fruition of 
their own accomplishments. 



294 HYDRIOTAPHIA 



CHAPTER V 

Now, since these dead bones have already out- 
lasted the living ones of Methuselah, and in 
a yard underground, and thin walls of clay, 
out-worn all the strong and specious build- 
ings above it ; and quietly rested under the 
drums and tramplings of three conquests : 
what prince can promise such diuturnity unto 
his reliques, or might not gladly say, 

TiBULLus. 'S'ic ego componi versus in ossa velim? 

Time, which antiquates antiquities, and hath 
an art to make dust of all things, hath yet 
spared these minor monuments. 

In vain we hope to be known by open and 
visible conservatories, when to be unknown 
was the means of their continuation, and 
obscurity their protection. If they died by 
violent hands, and were thrust into their urns, 
these bones became considerable, and some 
old philosophers would honour them,^ whose 
souls they conceived most pure, which were 
thus snatched from their bodies, and to retain 
a stronger propension unto them; whereas 
they weariedly left a languishing corps, and 
with faint desires of re-union. If they fell by 

1 Oracula Chaldaica cum scholiis Pselli ct Phethonis. 
BiTj XnrdvTCjv awfia \f/vxo-l KadapuTarai. Vi corpus 
relinqu£ntivm animce purissimoi. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 29^ 

long and aged decay, yet wrapt up in the 
bundle of time, they fell into indistinetion, 
and make but one blot with infants. If we 
begin to die when we live, and long life be but 
a prolongation of death, our life is a sad com- 
position ; we live with death, and die not in a 
moment. How many pulses made up the 
life of Methuselah, were work for Archimedes : 
common counters sum up the life of Moses his 
man. Our days become considerable, like in the Psaim 
petty sums, by minute accumulations ; where °^ ^^ses. 
numerous fractions make up but small round 
numbers ; and our days of a span long_, make 
not one little finger.^ 

If the nearness of our last necessity brought 
a nearer conformity unto it, there were a 
happiness in hoary hairs, and no calamity in 
half-senses. But the long habit of living 
indisposeth us for dying ; when avarice makes 
us the sport of death, when even David grew 
politickly cruel, and Solomon could hardly be 
said to be the wisest of men. But many are 
too early old, and before the date of age. 
Adversity stretcheth our days, misery makes 
Alcmena's night s,^ and time hath no wings 
unto it. But the most tedious being is that 
which can unwish itself, content to be nothing, 
or never to have been, which was beyond the 
malcontent of Job, who cursed not the day of 
his life, but his nativity ; content to have so 
far been, as to have a title to future being, 

1 According to the ancient arithmetick of the hand, 
wherein the little finger of the right hand contracted, 
signified an hundred, — Pierius in Hieroglyph. 

2 One night as long as three. 



296 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

although he had Hved here but in an hidden 
state of life, and as it were an abortion. 

What song the Sirens sang, or what name 
Achilles assumed when he hid himself among 
women, though puzzling questions,^ are not 
beyond all conjecture. What time the persons 
of these ossuaries entered the famous nations 
of the dead,2 and slept with princes and 
counsellors, might admit a wide solution. But 
who were the proprietaries of these bones, or 
what bodies these ashes made up, were a 
question above antiquarism ; not to be resolved 
by man, nor easily perhaps by spirits, except 
we consult the provincial guardians, or tutelary 
observators. Had they made as good provision 
for their names, as they have done for their 
reliques, they had not so grossly erred in the 
art of perpetuation. But to subsist in bones, 
and be but pyramidally extant, is a fallacy in 
duration. Vain ashes, which, in the oblivion 
of names, persons, times, and sexes, have found 
unto themselves a fruitless continuation, and 
only arise unto late posterity, as emblems of 
mortal vanities, antidotes against pride, vain- 
glory and madding vices. Pagan vain-glories 
which thought the world might last for ever, 
had encouragement for ambition ; and, finding 
no atropos unto the immortality of their names, 
were never dampt with the necessity of 
obHvion. Even old ambitions had the advan- 
tage of ours, in the attempts of their vain- 
glories, who acting early, and before the 

1 The puzzling questions of Tiberius unto grammarians. 
— Marcd. Donatus in Suet. 

2 KKvra^dvea veKpGiv. — Horn. Job. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 297 

probable meridian of time, have by this time 
found great accomphshment of their designs, 
whereby the ancient heroes have already out- 
lasted their monuments, and mechanical 
preservations. But in this latter scene of 
time, we cannot expect such mummies unto our 
memories, when ambition may fear the prophecy 
of EHas,i and Charles the Fifth can never hope 
to live within two Methuselahs of Hector. ^ 

And therefore, restless inquietude for the 
diuturnity of our memories unto present con- 
siderations seems a vanity almost out of date, 
and superannuated piece of folly. We cannot 
hope to live so long in our names, as some 
have done in their persons. One face of 
Janus holds no proportion unto the other. 
'Tis too late to be ambitious. The great 
mutations of the world are acted, or time may 
be too short for our designs. To extend our 
memories by monuments, whose death we 
daily pray for, and whose duration we cannot 
hope, without injury to our expectations in the 
advent of the last day, were a contradiction 
to our beliefs. We whose generations are 
ordained in this setting part of time, are 
providentially taken off from such imagina- 
tions; and, being necessitated to eye the 
remaining particle of futurity, are naturally 
constituted unto thoughts of the next world, 
and cannot excusably decline the consideration 
of that duration, which maketh pyramids 
pillars of snow, and all that 's past a moment. 

1 That the world may last but six thousand years. 
- Hector's fame lasting above two lives of Methuselah, 
before that famous prince was extant. 



298 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

Circles and right lines limit and close all 
bodies, and the mortal right-lined circle^ must 
conclude and shut up all. There is no anti- 
dote against the opium of time, which tempor- 
ally considereth all things: our fathers find 
their graves in our short memories, and sadly 
tell us how we may be buried in our survivors. 
Grave-stones tell truth scarce forty years. ^ 
Generations pass while some trees stand, and 
old families last not three oaks. To be read 
by bare inscriptions like many in Gruter,^ to 
hope for eternity by enigmatical epithets or 
first letters of our names, to be studied by 
antiquaries, who we were, and have new names 
given us, like many of the mummies,"* are cold 
consolations unto the students of perpetuity, 
even by everlasting languages. 

To be content that times to come should 
only know there was such a man, not caring 
whether they knew more of him, was a frigid 
ambition in Cardan;^ disparaging his horo- 
scopal inclination and judgment of himself. 
Who cares to subsist like Hippocrates's 
patients, or Achilles' s horses in Homer, 
under naked nominations, without deserts 
and noble acts, which are the balsam of our 
memories, the entelechia and soul of our sub- 
sistences .'* To be nameless in worthy deeds, 

1 The character of death. 

2 Old ones being taken up, and other bodies laid under 
them. 

3 Gruteri Inscriptiones Antiquce. 

4 Which men show in several countries, giving them 
what names they please ; and unto some the names of the 
old Egyptian kings, out of Herodotus. 

5 Cujperem notum esse quod sim, non opto ut sciatur 
qualis 5*m.— Card, in vit» propria. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 299 

exceeds an infamous history. The Canaan- 
itish woman lives more happily without a 
name, than Herodias with one. And who had 
not rather have been the good thief, than 
Pilate } 

But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth 
her poppy, and deals with the memory of 
men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. 
Who can but pity the founder of the pyramids ? 
Herostratus lives that burnt the temple of 
Diana, he is almost lost that built it. Time 
hath spared the epitaph of Adrian's horse, 
confounded that of himself. In vain we com- 
pute our felicities by the advantage of our 
good names, since bad hath equal durations, 
and Thersites is like to live as long as Aga- 
memnon. Who knows whether the best of 
men be known, or whether there be not more 
remarkable persons forgot, than any that 
stand remembered in the known account of 
time } Without the favour of the everlasting 
register, the first man had been as unknown 
as the last, and Methuselah's long life had 
been his only chronicle. 

Oblivion is not to be hired. The greater 
part must be content to be as though they 
had not been, to be found in the register of 
God, not in the record of man. Twenty-seven 
names make up the first story before the flood, 
and the recorded names ever since contain 
not one living century. The number of the 
dead long exceedeth all that shall live. The 
night of time far surpasseth the day, and who 
knows when was the equinox } Every hour adds 
unto that current arithmetick, which scarce 



300 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

stands one moment. And since death must 
Euripides, be the Luci?ia of life, and even Pagans could 
doubt, whether thus to live were to die ; since 
our longest sun sets at right descensions, and 
makes but winter arches, and therefore it 
cannot be long before we lie down in darkness, 
and have our light in ashes ; ^ since the brother 
of death daily haunts us with dying memen- 
toes, and time, that grows old in itself, bids 
us hope no long duration ; — diuturnity is a 
dream and folly of expectation. 

Darkness and light divide the course of 
time, and oblivion shares with memory a great 
part even of our living beings; we slightly 
remember our felicities, and the smartest 
strokes of affliction leave but short smart upon 
us. Sense endureth no extremities, and 
sorrows destroy us or themselves. To weep 
into stones are fables. Afflictions induce 
callosities ; miseries are slippery, or fall like 
snow upon us, which notwithstanding is no 
unhappy stupidity. To be ignorant of evils 
to come, and forgetful of evils past, is a 
merciful provision in nature, whereby we 
digest the mixture of our few and evil days, 
and, our delivered senses not relapsing into 
cutting remembrances, our sorrows are not 
kept raw by the edge of repetitions. A great 
part of antiquity contented their hopes of sub- 
sistency with a transmigration of their souls, — 
a good way to continue their memories, while 
having the advantage of plural successions, 
they could not but act something remarkable 

1 According to the custom of the Jews, who place a 
lighted wax-candle in a pot of ashes by the corpse. — Leo. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 301 

in such variety of beings, and enjoying the 
fame of their passed selves, make accumula- 
tion of glory unto their last durations. Others, 
rather than be lost in the uncomfortable night 
of nothing, were content to recede into the 
common being, and make one particle of the 
publick soul of all things, which was no more 
than to return into their unknoAvn and divine 
original again. Egyptian ingenuity was more 
unsatisfied, contriving their bodies in sweet 
consistencies, to attend the return of their souls. 
But all was vanity,^ feeding the wind, and folly. 
The Egyptian mummies, which Cambyses or 
time hath spared, avarice now consumeth. 
Mummy is become merchandize, Mizraim cures 
wounds, and Pharaoh is sold for balsams. 

In vain do individuals hope for immortality, 
or any patent from oblivion, in preservations 
below the moon ; men have been deceived 
even in their flatteries, above the sun, and 
studied conceits to perpetuate their names in 
heaven. The various cosmography of that 
part hath already varied the names of con- 
trived constellations ; Nimrod is lost in Orion, 
and Osyris in the Dog-star. While we look 
for incorruption in the heavens, we find they 
are but like the earth ; durable in their main 
bodies, alterable in their parts; whereof, 
beside comets and new stars, perspectives 
begin to tell tales, and the spots that wander 
about the sun, with Phaeton's favour would 
make clear conviction. 

There is nothing strictly immortal, but 

1 Omnia vmiitas et pastio venti, pofirj dv4fiov Kal 
^daKTjaLSf ut olim Aquila et Symmachus. v. Drus. Eccles. 



302 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

immortality. Whatever hath no beginning, 
may be confident of no end; — which is the 
peculiar of that necessary essence that cannot 
destroy itself; — and the highest strain of 
omnipotency, to be so powerfully constituted 
as not to suffer even from the power of itself : 
all others have a dependent being and within 
the reach of destruction. But the sufficiency 
of Christian immortality frustrates all earthly 
glory, and the quality of either state after 
death, makes a folly of posthumous memory. 
God, who can only destroy our souls, and hath 
assured our resurrection, either of our bodies 
or names, hath directly promised no duration. 
Wherein there is so much of chance, that the 
boldest expectants have found unhappy frus- 
tration ; and to hold long subsistence, seems 
but a scape in oblivion. But man is a noble 
animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the 
grave, solemnizing nativities and deaths with 
equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of 
bravery in the infamy of his nature. 

Life is a pure flame, and we live by an 
invisible sun within us. A small fire sufficeth 
for life, great flames seemed too little after 
death, while men vainly affected precious pyres, 
and to burn like Sardanapalus ; but the 
wisdom of funeral laws found the folly of 
prodigal blazes, and reduced undoing fires 
unto the rule of sober obsequies, wherein few 
could be so mean as not to provide wood, pitch, 
a mourner, and an urn.^ 

1 According to the epitaph of Rufus axid Beronica, in 
Gruterus : 

nee ex 
Eorum bonis plus inventum est, qnam 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 303 

Five languages secured not the epitaph of 
Gordianus.^ The man of God lives longer 
without a tomb than any by one, invisibly 
interred by angels, and adjudged to obscurity, 
though not without some marks directing 
human discovery. Enoch and Elias, without 
either tomb or burial, in an anomalous 
state of being, are the great examples of 
perpetuity, in their long and living memory, 
in strict account being still on this side death, 
and having a late part yet to act upon this 
stage of earth. If in the decretory term 
of the world we shall not die but be changed, 
according to received translation, the last day 
will make but few graves ; at least quick 
resurrections will anticipate lasting sepultures. 
Some graves will be opened before they be 
quite closed, and Lazarus be no wonder. 
When many that feared to die shall groan 
that they can die but once, the dismal state is 
the second and living death, when life puts 
despair on the damned ; when men shall wish 
the coverings of mountains, not of monuments, 
and annihilation shall be courted. 

While some have studied monuments, 
others have studiously declined them, and 
some have been so vainly boisterous, that they 
durst not acknowledge their graves ; wherein 
Alaricus ^ seems most subtle, who had a river 
turned to hide his bones at the bottom. Even 

Quod sufficeret ad emendam pyram 
Etpiceni quibus corpora cremarentur, 
Et jyrcefica coiwLiicta, et olla empta. 

1 In Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Egyptian, Arabic ; defaced 
by Licinius the emperor. 

- Jornandes, De Getarura. 



etc, 



304 HYDRIOTAPHIA 

Sylla, that thought himself safe in his urn, 
could not prevent revenging tongues_, and 
stones thrown at his monument. Happy are 
they whom privacy makes innocent, who deal 
so with men in this world, that they are not 
afraid to meet them in the next, who, when 
they die, make no commotion among the dead, 
isa. xiv. i6, and are not touched with that poetical taunt 
of Isaiah. 

Pyramids, arches, obelisks, were but the 
irregularities of vain-glory, and wild enormities 
of ancient magnanimity. But the most 
magnanimous resolution rests in the Chris- 
tian religion, which trampleth upon pride, 
and sits on the neck of ambition, humbly 
pursuing that infallible perpetuity, into which 
all others must diminish their diameters, 
and be poorly seen in angles of contingency.^ 

Pious spirits who passed their days in 
raptures of futurity, made little more of this 
world, than the world that was before it, 
while they lay obscure in the chaos of pre- 
ordination, and night of their forebeings. 
And if any have been so happy as truly to 
understand Christian annihilation, ecstasis, 
exolution, liquefaction, transformation, the 
kiss of the spouse, gustation of God, and 
ingression into the divine shadow, they have 
already had an handsome anticipation of 
heaven; the glory of the world is surely over, 
and the earth in ashes unto them. 

To subsist in lasting monuments, to live in 
their productions, to exist in their names and 
predicament of chimaeras, was large satisfaction 
1 Anyulus contingentice, the least of angles. 



HYDRIOTAPHIA 305 

unto old expectations, and made one part of 
their Elysiums. But all this is nothing in the 
metaphysicks of true belief. To live indeed, is 
to be again ourselves, which being not only an 
hope, but an evidence in noble believers, 'tis 
all one to lie in St. Innocent's ^ churchyard, as 
in the sands of ^Egypt. Ready to be anything, 
in the ecstasy of being ever, and as content 
with six foot as the moles of Adrianus.^ 

tahesne cadavera solvate 
An rogusj hand refert. — Lucan. 



1 In Paris, where bodies soon consume. 

- A stately mausoleum or sepulchral pile, built by 
Adrianus in Kome, where now standeth the castle of St. 
Angelo. 



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